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State of Conservation (SOC)

The very significant number of reports prepared by the UNESCO Secretariat and the Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Committee represents an exceptional and extensive documentation on various conservation issues. It is one of the most comprehensive monitoring systems of any international conventions, through a global network of sites.

Properties by Year
Properties by Region
Properties by Category
% of properties subject to a SOC report

State of conservation 

Article 4 of the World Heritage Convention refers to the conservation of properties inscribed on the World Heritage List and indicates that each

“State Party to this Convention recognizes that the duty of ensuring the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and transmission to future generations of the cultural and natural heritage referred to in Articles 1 and 2 and situated on its territory, belongs primarily to that State. It will do all it can to this end, to the utmost of its own resources and, where appropriate, with any international assistance and co-operation, in particular, financial, artistic, scientific and technical, which it may be able to obtain.”

 Online Information System

The Online Information System is a comprehensive and integrated database on the state of conservation of World Heritage properties since1979 and the factors* affecting their Outstanding Universal Value. This state of conservation database is integrated with all the other World Heritage Centre databases on Nominations, International Assistance, States Parties information, statutory documentation, World Heritage Committee’s decisions, etc. 

It includes an advanced search form per property, per region, per State Party, per year, per type of threat, etc. 

In terms of monitoring, the state of conservation Information System highly contributes to the institutional memory of the World Heritage Convention and facilitates well-informed and consistent decision-making. It assists States Parties to improve mitigation measures to better protect their properties. 

To know more about the project, click here

Partnership

The State of conservation Online Information System was established with the generous support of the Flemish Government.  

The support provided by the France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement to further develop this tool is also greatly appreciated.


Monitoring process

The Operational Guidelines (Para. 169) indicates that

“the Secretariat, other sectors of UNESCO and the Advisory Bodies (report) to the Committee on the state of conservation of specific World Heritage properties that are under threat. To this end, the States Parties shall submit by 1 February to the Committee through the Secretariat, specific reports and impact studies each time exceptional circumstances occur or work is undertaken which may have an effect on the state of conservation of the property.”

As part of the reactive monitoring process for properties inscribed on the World Heritage List and on the List of World Heritage in Danger, each year the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies prepare reports on the state of conservation of some selected properties to be examined by the World Heritage Committee.

In the 40 years of existence of the Convention, several thousands reports on the state of conservation of properties have been prepared and examined.  Besides compiling background information on the properties and reviewing information from different sources, these reports highlight the factors affecting the Outstanding Universal Value, integrity and authenticity of the property and propose activities to mitigate the threats. In some cases, they include a set of corrective measures and a timeframe for their implementation.

On the basis of these regular reports, the World Heritage Committee decides, in consultation with the State Party concerned and as per Paragraph 24 of the Operational Guidelines

  • whether additional measures are required to conserve the property;
  • whether to delete the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger if the property is no longer under threat;
  • or whether it should consider the deletion of the property from the World Heritage List if the property has deteriorated to the extent that it has lost those characteristics which determined its inscription on the World Heritage List, in accordance with the procedure set out in paragraphs 192-198 of the Operational Guidelines.

Contact

UNESCO Culture Sector - World Heritage Centre
Policy and Statutory Meetings Section
r.veillon@unesco.org

Documents
Events (1)
See Also (2)
Activities (1)
Decisions
  • Decision 37COM 7C Show
  • Decision 36COM 7C Show
  • Decision 35COM 12E Show
Numbers
3006
Reports
500
Properties
133
States parties

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