Information on International Assistance - Towards a Programme Approach
XVII.1 The Secretariat informed the Committee that document WHC-01/CONF.208/19 provides an analysis of international assistance under the World Heritage Fund based on the review of more than 1200 requests approved from 1978 to the end-of September 2001, and proposals of four thematic programmes aimed to address some of the major conservation problems of World Heritage sites. The Secretariat recalled that these programme proposals were developed for consideration by the Committee at the request of the Bureau at its twenty-fifth session which endorsed the strategic orientations in the use of the World Heritage Fund's international assistance. The overall aim, the Secretariat stated, was to use limited funds in a proactive way and to support conservation activities with a multiplier effect with demonstration value.
XVII.2 The Committee was informed that a total of about US$27 million had been allocated since 1978 to support activities requested by the States Parties. Although the amount available annually for international assistance had increased significantly since 1992, the growing demand from States Parties of the developing world made it impossible to respond adequately to all the requests. In terms of distribution of the cumulative amount, support to African States Parties represents some 27% (36 States Parties and 53 properties), Arab States 13% (18 States Parties and 52 properties), Asia-Pacific 21% (35 States Parties and 135 properties), Latin America and the Caribbean 24% (29 States Parties, 98 properties), Europe and North America 15% (49 States Parties and 352 properties).
XVII.3 The proposed 2002-2003 budget for international assistance (Chapter III of the budget) is composed of three sections: (1) States Parties request in accordance with the Operational Guidelines, for preparatory assistance, training, technical cooperation and on-site promotion, and emergency assistance for the amount of US$4 million (for budget details see Chapter XV of this report), (2) World Heritage Programme Initiatives for the amount of US$450,000 to launch four thematic programmes and (3) evaluation of international assistance for US$60,000.
XVII.4 Stressing the need for multi-year programmes to ensure the sustainability of conservation policies and actions, the Secretariat referred to the mutually reinforcing relationship between Principles, Programmes, and Partners which would be the means to achieve "the credibility, conservation and capacity-building areas" advanced by the Delegate of Belgium.
XVII.5 The programmes would be guided by the principles laid out in the World Heritage Convention and other international conventions on the protection of heritage and the environment, as well as recommendations and charters of UNESCO, ICOMOS and IUCN. These principles would also serve to ensure that the partners to be solicited to support the programme activities would do so upon adhering to the conservation objectives of these international norms and standards.
XVII.6 The Committee was informed that the selection of the themes of the four programmes proposed for their consideration was based on the identification of the types of conservation problems that have resulted in the greater amount of international assistance in the past, crossreferenced with issues emerging from a review of the reactive monitoring reports and the findings from the periodic reports (Arab States, Africa and initial findings from the on-going exercise in Asia-Pacific). The rationale for the thematic programme, composed of sub-regional and site-specific activities is to address conservation issues prevalent in all regions through site-specific activities so that concrete lessons can serve to improve methodology.
XVII.7 Tourism management; conservation of forest sites; conservation management of cities and conservation of earthen structures were proposed.
XVII.8 The Secretariat provided the following justifications for the selection:
- Tourism - growing threats on World Heritage sites from tourism which, if sustainably managed could offer socio-economic development opportunities;
- Forests - since close to 60 of the natural sites on the World Heritage List are forests and that the lessons being learned from the large-scale UNESCO-UN Foundation projects in the tropical forest sites in the Democratic Republic of the Congo can serve as case studies to enrich the programme;
- Cities - since close to 200 of the cultural sites on the List are historic centres or entire cities, and because 20% of the Fund's international assistance have served to address the challenge of urban heritage conservation;
- Earthen structures - since some 30 of the cultural sites on the List are included in this category, and due to the particularity of conservation of earthen heritage, and threats.
XVII.9 The Secretariat concluded its presentation by stating that in view of the many other categories of heritage and the wide range of conservation issues which need to be addressed in a systematic manner, it would be prepared to develop alternative programmes should the Committee wish to give priority to others. The Secretariat also drew the attention of the Committee to other programmes which can be developed for consideration by the Committee at Budapest, namely: risk preparedness; coastal and marine ecosystems; cultural landscapes; wooden heritage, and mural paintings.
XVII.10 The Committee expressed its appreciation for the clarity of the presentation and the justifications provided. Indicating strong support for the overall programming approach, the Committee however indicated the need for the programme to respond to the priorities established by the Committee and to create strong links with the results of the Global Strategy actions and Periodic Reporting. The Committee approved the four proposed themes of the programmes in this first series of initiatives and authorized the Centre to proceed in their development.
XVII.11 One Committee member requested the development of a programme for coastal marine and small island ecosystems, stressing the need to take advantage of the attention being given to this by GEF and environmental protection agencies. The Secretariat agreed to its importance and on-going activities in this area but indicated the need to avoid the dispersion of human and financial resources, especially in view of the attention needed to develop the forest programme.
XVII.12 ICCROM and ICOMOS expressed regret that they had not been adequately associated in the development of the thematic programmes and pilot case studies, although they had been consulted on the programme approach. ICCROM stressed that the programmes proposed by the Centre all have capacitybuilding focus where ICCROM has long years of experience. The Secretariat assured the Advisory Bodies that their involvement is foreseen and would be essential to the success of these initiatives.