Report by former Chairman and Rapporteur on activities undertaken during the period September 1978-October 1979 and Action to be taken thereon
In reporting to the Committee on activities undertaken during the previous year, the former Chairman, Mr. David Hales, focussed on significant successes noted by the Committee and he also referred to serious problems for the future. He drew attention to the increase in the number of ratifications or acceptances of the Convention which totalled 48, to the substantial increase in the number of fellowships provided under the World Heritage Fund as well as in the assistance provided for the protection of sites. Mr. Hales also laid stress on the vast increase in the number of nominations received for inscription on the World Heritage List. However, he had become aware over the past year of the fact that the Convention remained largely an unknown body in the majority of countries and that many Governments did not fully understand its implications. He expressed his concern with respect to the extremely heavy workload for the Secretariat, the advisory organizations, the Bureau and the Committee itself, and he noted that the staff on the Secretariat of the Committee was still insufficient. Another problem was raised by the increasing imbalance between cultural and natural representation on the Committee and he felt that appropriate action should be taken by the States members of the Committee to redress this situation so that the credibility of the World Heritage List should not be put in doubt. Lastly, he underlined the serious responsibility of the Committee with respect to the List, stressing that the Committee's wisdom would be judged by the composition of the List.