Committee Decisions

CONF 208 IX.1-19

IX. Progress Report on Regional Actions for the Implementation of the Global Strategy for a Representative and Balanced World Heritage List

IX.1 The Secretariat highlighted the essential points contained in Document WHC-01/CONF.208/11 by recalling that the Global Strategy for a representative, balanced and credible World Heritage List was adopted by the Committee in 1994. At the request of the Committee, Regional Action Plans were developed by the Secretariat to meet the particular needs of each region which were approved by the Committee in 1999. The Secretariat reported that in Africa and the Pacific, global strategy actions have focused more on awareness raising and promotion for ratification in view of the important number of UNESCO Member States that have not yet ratified the Convention. In both these regions and also in the Caribbean and the Arab States, considerable work was being done to encourage States Parties to establish their national Tentative List and to identify potential sites from under-represented categories. Thematic studies and expert thematic meetings have been carried out in all regions. Important achievements have been made in elaborating the concepts of various types of cultural landscapes. In Asia, thematic studies and meetings with States Parties have focused on the categories of cultural properties most at risk due to the absence or weakness of legal protection (modern heritage, vernacular architecture of minority groups in SE Asia), as well as in the harmonization of the Tentative Lists of the five Central Asian States Parties.

IX.2 Particular mention was made of the following Global Strategy thematic studies and meetings: Meeting of States Parties and Experts on Global Strategy in Southeast Asia (Tana Toraja, Indonesia in April 2001); Meeting of States Parties on the Alpine Arc (Turin, Italy, July 2001); Thematic Meeting on Vineyard Cultural Landscapes (Tokai, Hungary, July 2001); Expert Meeting on Plantation Systems in the Caribbean (Paramaribo, Suriname, July 2001); Expert Meeting on Sacred Mountains in Asia-Pacific (Japan, September 2001); Expert Meeting on Desert Landscapes and Oasis Systems (Oasis Kharga, Egypt, September 2001); Regional Training Course on the Application of the Convention and its Role in Sustainable Development and Tourism in the Caribbean (September-October 2001); Capacity-building Workshop for Southwestern Indian Ocean Island Countries (Madagascar, October 2001); Sub-regional Workshop on Capacity-building and Institutional Development for Southern African Countries (Windhoek, Namibia, September 2001), ICCROM/UNESCO/CRATerre-supported Africa 2009 regional training course to promote representivity (July-September 2001), Sixth Meeting of the Pacific Islands Round Table (Suva, Fiji, October-November 2001); Workshop on Cultural Interpretation of Heritage Sites for Preservation and Tourism (Palau, July 2001).

IX.3 In determining Global Strategy activities for the 2002-2003 period, the Secretariat drew the attention of the Committee to its five-part decision adopted at its twentyfourth session concerning the Representivity of the List: 1. Respecting the Convention; 2. Use of the Tentative List as a planning tool to reduce imbalances; 3. Establishment of a priority system for nominations; 4. Resolution of the Twelfth General Assembly regarding representivity and 5. Capacity-building for under-represented regions.

IX.4 Several Committee members stressed the importance of the Resolution of the General Assembly concerning the Representivity of the World Heritage List and that the substantive work on the analysis of the current World Heritage List and the tentative lists must be given top priority. New thematic studies and meetings should be carried out only upon the completion of this global analysis, and on the basis of the priorities identified for each region. A number of delegates stated that since 1994, many regional and thematic meetings have been convened, and the results of these meetings need to be reviewed before others are launched.

IX.5 ICOMOS informed the Committee that a number of thematic studies have been carried out or are in progress, including textile industries, rock art in Southern Africa and early agricultural landscapes in the Pacific.

IX.6 IUCN commended the Centre and stated that clear criteria are needed for future thematic workshops. The priority for IUCN lies in the coastal and marine ecosystems, boreal forests and geological sites. The World Parks Congress (South Africa, 2003) provides an excellent opportunity, as World Heritage and African Heritage would enjoy a high profile at this event.

IX.7 The Committee thanked the Secretariat for the document prepared but stated that the numerous activities proposed need to be prioritised. Members of the Committee noted the following points:

IX.8 For the Caribbean, the work proposed for coastal and marine sites has a high priority and needs to be linked to existing GEF/World Bank projects and other regional and sub-regional programmes and projects; that the Slave Route project also be given high priority for the Caribbean under the cultural heritage category; and that the proposed study and expert meeting on rock art are not priorities in view of extensive studies already existing on this subject. The Committee stressed the need to ensure complementarity of activities under the Global Strategy for a representative World Heritage List and the Periodic Reports.

IX.9 A number of delegates from Latin America underlined the importance of using the tentative lists as a planning tool and that the inclusion of sites on these lists indicated that they already meet minimum standards. Although agreement on the limitation of nominations is a major step forward, this should not negatively affect States Parties that are under-represented in the World Heritage List or having sites belonging to under-represented categories. States Parties that are already well represented on the List should voluntarily refrain from submitting nominations. It was mentioned that the Ibero-American network (Ushuaia, Argentina, 2002), would be an important forum to discuss potential natural heritage from the region.

IX.10 For the African region, priority should be given to the preparation of tentative lists and nominations from States Parties, and in the identification of underrepresented categories. Given the capacity-building requirements in the majority of States Parties of this region, the need to mobilize international co-operation was stressed. A number of African State Party representatives expressed concern over the demand for high quality documentation for the nomination files, often beyond the capacity of the African States Parties to provide.

IX.11 Concerning Asia, the Committee commended the Centre for the well-structured analysis by sub-region of the World Heritage List that provides a useful overview of the represented and under-represented categories in the region. The Delegate of India underscored the importance of identifying ancient routes and trade links within the southeast Asian sub-region. A standard presentation for all regions could be used as a strategic tool to assess the overall situation, and budget allocations should be made accordingly. The Committee noted the results of the regional thematic meeting on Sacred Mountains in Asia-Pacific and of the proceedings already published by the Government of Japan. The results should be also taken into account for discussions on criterion (vi), as many sites may only qualify for their relationship between the intangible values and the natural environment. It was stressed that the conditions of integrity need to be applied for cultural heritage in this region.

IX.12 The Observer of Australia referred to a number of partnerships in support of the World Heritage Global Strategy in the Asia-Pacific region, including the ACCU (Asia-Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO). He proposed that IUCN and the World Heritage Centre look at the impact of climate change in the region with reference to World Heritage sites, especially in marine and coastal ecosystems. He also referred to the support of New Zealand in funding a World Heritage Officer in the UNESCO Office in Apia, Samoa and called for the position to be continued by UNESCO in the future. He referred to the legal and technical assistance being provided in the region through the Asia-Pacific Focal Point for World Heritage Managers hosted by Australia and suggested a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Heritage Centre.

IX.13 Several observers of European States Parties  congratulated the Centre for a number of thematic meetings carried out and the recommendations stemming from these, such as the vineyard thematic meeting. The recommendation for a global vineyard study was emphasized by a number of Committee members and observers to ensure the credibility of future nominations under this category. An appropriate delimitation of the wine growing area should be chosen for these sites. The Delegate of Hungary expressed his country's commitment to promote the co-ordination of the tentative lists within their sub-region.

IX.14 The Committee was informed that a number of States Parties are currently preparing transboundary nominations. Co-operation between countries should be encouraged to ensure a better representivity of the World Heritage List and solidarity between countries from different regions. The fact that forty-nine countries still have no tentative lists indicated the urgent need to extend assistance in this field. The Committee agreed that transfrontier, serial and other nominations should be encouraged as well as links to the MAB programme.

IX.15 With regard to the Alpine Arc, the Committee noted that a new, co-ordinated and regional approach for international collaboration was promoted by the six countries of the Alpine region (Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland), and that following the expert meeting at Hallstatt (Austria, June 2000), two States Party meetings were convened (Turin, Italy, July 2001 and UNESCO Headquarters, October 2001) to discuss the diversity, values and composition of the Alpine Arc. Taking into account the complexity of such a regional approach, the countries agreed to schedule a follow-up meeting for the beginning of 2002. This process accompanied by international experts and the World Heritage Centre should encourage the States Parties to continue with this innovative and regional approach in World Heritage nomination.

IX.16 Commenting on the Secretariat's report on the Desert Landscape Meeting, organized in Egypt (September 2001), the Committee recalled the importance of this category of properties. It recommended that resources be allocated to further the process of identification of potential desert landscapes for possible inclusion on the World Heritage List, starting with those located across two or more countries. Committee members from the Arab region stated that this should be the focus rather than dispersing resources on less urgent initiatives, such as the proposed Thematic Study on Modern Heritage in the Arab States. In this respect, and taking into account that deserts are a common feature across several regions of the world, the Committee stressed the desirability of a more intense inter-regional co-operation in this field, such as in the Mediterranean Action Plan. The Delegate of Egypt suggested that the year 2003 be declared an International Year of the Desert.

IX.17 Concerning priorities, particularly in the Arab region, the Committee insisted also on the importance of addressing heritage legislation and institutional building, as these are an essential precondition for the establishment of appropriate conservation practices.

IX.18 The Observer of ALECSO recalled the publication by his Organization (in 2001) of an Arab Biodiversity Strategy. He recommended that this document be translated into English and taken into account in future World Heritage programmes and activities in the region. IUCN recognized the gap in the representivity of natural heritage in the Arab Region and stated its intention to address it in the future.

IX.19 The Committee concluded its examination of Global Strategy activities by reiterating the need for the Secretariat to focus on the analysis of the World Heritage List and the national tentative lists as a priority, as well as on assistance to States Parties for the establishment and revision of these tentative lists as required. The Committee however noted that a conceptual discussion is needed to provide a framework for such analyses and also recognized the need to identify methodologies to define under-represented categories of heritage.


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Context of Decision
PDF WHC-01/CONF.208/11
Themes: Reports
Session: 25COM