Committee Decisions

CONF 003 X.10

Progress Report on the Preparation of a Global Strategy for a Representative World Heritage List

X.1 At its seventeenth session in Cartagena, the Committee requested the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS to continue their efforts in preparing a conceptual framework for "a global study", in order to advance in defining a concept and a methodology which could be widely accepted by the scientific community.

X.2 Consequently, the Centre and ICOMOS organized jointly at UNESCO, from 20 to 22 June 1994, a first meeting of experts representing different regions of the world and different disciplines concerned (specialists in cultural heritage, anthropologists, art and architecture historians, archaeologists, etc.) with the objective of reviewing the issues and considering all the different approaches, and especially all the work and contributions made to date, in an attempt to define a conceptual framework, a methodology and common goals.

X.3 The Vice-President of ICOMOS, Ms Joan Domicelj, presented to the Bureau at its eighteenth session the report of this meeting of experts, as well as a major outline of its recommendations to the Committee, in order to implement a Global strategy to ameliorate the representativity of the List. These recommendations have been included "in extenso" in document WHC-94/CONF.003/INF.6.

X.4 Having taken note of the Secretariat's report concerning the proposals made by the experts, and its presentation of different thematic meetings which took place in 1994 on Heritage Canals (Canada), Routes as a Part of our Cultural Heritage (Spain) and Authenticity (Japan), the Committee adopted the following three proposals concerning work to be undertaken in 1995:

1) the revision of certain criteria for the inscription of cultural properties on the World Heritage List, based on Recommendation 7 proposed by the experts (see section XIV of the Report).

2) the participation of one member of the World Heritage Centre or of ICOMOS at future regional or thematic meetings, in order to present to them the substance of the Global Strategy, place the discussions in the wider framework of current scientific thought concerning the concept of cultural heritage, and to identify potential partners for future regional meetings of a specific nature;

3) the allocation of an amount of US $ 40.000 for the organization, in cooperation with ICOMOS, and on a regional basis, of a first scientific meeting in Africa with States Parties and those that are not yet party to the Convention, which would deal with African cultural heritage and the Convention. The Committee agreed to allocate also US $ 5.000 for the preparation of this meeting. This meeting will deal with various types of cultural properties which presently are not represented on the List or inadequately so. The Committee also allocated an amount of US $ 30.000 for the organization, in collaboration with the National Commission of Philippines, ICOMOS, IUCN/ENPPA and UNESCO Regional Offices, a regional meeting on cultural landscapes of rice terraces of Asia and the Pacific.

X.5 The representative of ICOMOS stated that its cooperation with the Centre was excellent, particularly as regards the meeting of experts held in June 1994. He expressed his wish that the implementation of the Global strategy would be done jointly in 1995 by the two institutions, as this action is for ICOMOS a part of a global scientific programme which includes other themes for reflection.

X.6 At the suggestion of the German Delegation, the Committee adopted the following text as the basis for future deliberations by the Committee on the Global strategy:

"As . a follow-up of the decisions of the Committee during the previous years, several initiatives were launched to improve the implementation of the convention with regard to cul tural properties. One of these initiatives was a working group on the Global strategy, taking place in Paris in July 1994 (see working document CONF.003.INF.6.) For the cultural sites this document stresses imbalances on the List between regions of the world, types of monuments and period but this is not reflected for the natural sites in this working document. To reduce these imbalances for natural properties as well, the following measures would seem to be adequate:

1) expansion of Documents CONF.003/INF.6 and CONF. 003/6 to include an equal emphasis on natural properties;

2) adjustment of the formal and scientific criteria for the evaluation of nominated cultural and natural sites respectively, taking into consideration also the cultural landscape approach;

3) giving priority to thematic studies on the main types of ecosystems and developing strategies to implement the results without delay;

4) reconsideration of the procedure for the assessment of nominated natural' sites with special respect to the term "integrity."

To facilitate this, a specialists' meeting should be organized in the first half of 1995."

X.7 The Chair asked the opinion of the Director of the Centre if it would be possible to organize such a expert meeting. The Director responded by warmly welcoming this suggestion and noted that if the Centre had a budget of USD 20,000 put at its disposal, it could organize such a meeting. The Director also called to the Committee's attention the relevance of such a study to Mixed sites.

X.8 The Delegate of France, explained that in order to understand the concern expressed in the document prepared by the German Delegation and which met with the approval of the French Delegation, it must be recalled that the imbalance noted is partly due to the decisions taken during the sixteenth session of the Committee at Santa Fe:

  • deletion of criterion (ii) for cultural properties (interaction between man and nature);
  • modification of cultural criteria to allow the inscription of cultural landscapes, the recognition of which had been strongly endorsed by France.

He indicated that the "natural" part of cultural landscapes was not sufficiently taken into account and that it would be appropriate to place more emphasis on paragraph 38 of the Guidelines. He suggested that in the future ICOMOS and IUCN proceed with a joint evaluation of properties proposed for inscription as cultural landscapes.

X.9 Several other delegates, including those from the United States of America, Japan, 'Italy and Niger expressed their support for the German proposal for a expert working group on natural and mixed sites. The United States Delegate remarked on the importance of establishing computerized data bases for sites. The Delegate from Niger expressed his hope that, eventually, separate criteria for Natural and Cultural sites could be eliminated in favour of an unified set of criteria applicable for all types of World Heritage sites.

X.10 Because of time constraints items D, E and F of this agenda item could not be considered by the eighteenth session of the Committee and were postponed for consideration by the nineteenths session of the Bureau.


Themes: Credibility of the World Heritage List
Session: 18COM