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, Statements of Outstanding Universal Value, 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 the problems and 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, or that different boundaries were identified without any precision on the proposed delimitation for the property);
  3. transmission of a letter to the State Party concerned, explaining the problems identified and clarifying, property by property, the information to submit and the technical requirements for maps (see below);
  4. answer from the State Party (two printed copies and two CDs, the maps in .jpg, .tiff or .pdf formats);
  5. comparison between the information submitted by the State Party and the Nomination file, 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 entitled « clarification of boundaries », so that the World Heritage Committee can take note of it;
  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 (increase or reduction 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.


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

  1. 2004-2005: Nomination files of properties in Europe;
  2. 2006: Nomination files of properties in the Arab States;
  3. 2007-2008: submissions of the First Cycle of Periodic Reporting of properties in Europe;
  4. 2009: Nomination files of properties in Africa;
  5. 2010: Nomination files of properties in Asia and the Pacific ;
  6. 2011: Nomination files of properties in Latin America and the Caribbean;
  7. 2012: Nomination files of properties in North America.

Video tutorials

How to prepare a map in answer to he Retrospective Inventory?
How to present to World Heritage Committee a buffer zone or a proposal for minor boundary modification?

Strategic objectives
  • Capacity Building
Decisions (7)
Show 36COM 8D
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