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Boundary Clarifications

Retrospective Inventory and boundary clarifications

The Retrospective Inventory is a project aiming at the identification and collection of baseline data (such as boundaries, geographical coordinates, serial components, area of properties in hectares, etc.) for properties inscribed on the World Heritage List in the timeframe 1978-1998.

The project is carried out in seven phases 

  1. Elaboration of a Retrospective Inventory of the content of the Nomination file, as stored at the archives of the World Heritage Centre, of ICOMOS and of IUCN;
  2. Identification of gaps in each Nomination file (it is possible that no map was submitted at the time of the submission of the file, or that it did not show any boundary for the property);
  3. Notification of the State Party concerned about the gaps identified, including a specification of the information requested;
  4. Answer from the State Party (two printed copies and an electronic copy, maps in .jpg or .pdf formats);
  5. Examination of the newly submitted information by the State Party, in order to verify that the submitted data reflect the situation at the time of the inscription;
  6. Presentation of the information in a working document to the World Heritage Committee to take note;
  7. Publication of the information on the website of the World Heritage Centre.

Clarifications of boundaries

The clarifications of boundaries, as they refer to the delimitation of properties at the time of their inscription on the World Heritage List, differ from minor boundary modifications, which refer to any modification (minor increase of the size of a property, establishment of a buffer zone, etc…) intervened after the inscription. Before a proposal for a minor boundary modification can be submitted, it is necessary that the boundaries at the time of the inscription are clear or have been clarified.


Regions 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Total
Africa 3 1 1 5
Arab States 10 1 8 2 3 2 1 1 5 33
Asia and the Pacific 1 30 1 7 2 41
Europe and North America 28 15 71 29 16 15 18 8 14 15 19 5 2 255
Latin America and the Caribbean 3 24 16 3 5 1 2 54
Total 28 15 81 30 24 21 55 35 37 20 25 8 9 388


The Retrospective Inventory was launched by the World Heritage Committee in 2004 and is ongoing according to the following calendar:

2004-2005: Nomination files of properties in Europe;
2006: Nomination files of properties in the Arab States;
2007-2008: submissions of the First Cycle of Periodic Reporting of properties in Europe;
2009: Nomination files of properties in Africa;
2010: Nomination files of properties in Asia and the Pacific ;
2011: Nomination files of properties in Latin America and the Caribbean;
2012: Nomination files of properties in North America.

Video tutorials

How to prepare a map in answer to he Retrospective Inventory?
  • What is the Retrospective Inventory?
  • Boundaries
  • Requirements for complete maps
  • Summing up
Download the presentation
How to present to World Heritage Committee a buffer zone or a proposal for minor boundary modification?
  • Operational Guidelines
  • The differences between boundary clarifications and minor boundary modifications
  • The format for minor boundary modifications
Download the presentation
Strategic objectives
  • Capacity Building
Decisions (12)
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