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2. Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.2. Outstanding Universal Value
2.2.4. Integrity

Case Law


Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee recommends providing a more detailed inventory of the attributes and elements of the property (based on Case law on decisions on Nominations).
Date year: 2010 2009 2008
See for examples Decisions (4)
Code: 34 COM 8B.11

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-10/34.COM/8B and WHC-10/34.COM/INF.8B1,

2. Refers the examination of the nomination on the basis of cultural criteria of Konso Cultural Landscape, Ethiopia, back to the State Party to allow it to:

a) Undertake and provide a more detailed inventory of the key attributes such as town walls, paftas, shrines;

b) Re-define the boundary to reflect the key attributes of the property, the geo-morphology of the area, and social and cultural units, and in particular consider the interface between Dokatu towns and Karat;

c) Augment the comparative analysis;

d) Define and put in place a buffer zone to protect the property from urban development;

e) Strengthen and augment structures and regulations to ensure support for customary systems;

f) Strengthen the planning processes to ensure that the spatial planning of the towns is conserved;

g) Ensure more active involvement of regional and national authorities in the management and conservation;

3. Also considers that the international community should be invited to support this extraordinary landscape to ensure that its communities can meet the challenge of establishing a sustainable future.

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Code: 34 COM 8B.20

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-10/34.COM/8B and WHC-10/34.COM/INF.8B1,

2. Inscribes the Bikini Atoll Nuclear Test Site , Marshall Islands on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (iv) and (vi) ;

3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

Brief synthesis:

In the wake of World War II, in a move closely related to the beginnings of the Cold War, the United States of America decided to resume nuclear testing. They choose Bikini Atoll in the Marshall archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. After the displacement of the local inhabitants, 23 nuclear tests were carried out from 1946 to 1958,. The cumulative force of the tests in all of the Marshall Islands was equivalent to 7,000 times that of the Hiroshima bomb.

Following the use of nuclear bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Bikini tests confirmed that mankind was entering a "nuclear era". The many military remains bear witness to the beginnings of the Cold War, the race to develop weapons of mass destruction and a geopolitical balance based on terror.

The violence exerted on the natural, geophysical and living elements by nuclear weapons illustrates the relationship which can develop between man and the environment. This is reflected in the ecosystems and the terrestrial, marine and underwater landscapes of Bikini Atoll.

The nuclear tests changed the history of Bikini Atoll and the Marshall Islands, through the displacement of inhabitants, and the human irradiation and contamination caused by radionuclides produced by the tests.

The Bikini Atoll tests, and tests carried out in general during the Cold War, gave rise to a series of images and symbols of the nuclear era. They also led to the development of widespread international movements advocating disarmament.

Criterion (iv) : Bikini Atoll is an outstanding example of a nuclear test site. It has many military remains and characteristic terrestrial and underwater landscape elements. It is tangible testimony of the birth of the Cold War and it bears testimony to the race to develop increasingly powerful nuclear weapons. In the wake of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, the Bikini Atoll site confirmed that mankind was entering a nuclear era. It also bears witness to the consequences of the nuclear tests on the civil populations of Bikini and the Marshall Islands, in terms of population displacement and public-health issues.

Criterion (vi) : The ideas and beliefs associated with the Bikini nuclear test site, and more generally with the escalation of military power which characterized the Cold War, are of international significance. These events gave rise to a large number of international movements advocating nuclear disarmament; they gave rise to powerful symbols and to many images associated with the "nuclear era", which characterized the second part of the 20th century.

Integrity and authenticity

The integrity of the property is acceptable, in view of the simultaneous presence of the remains of human artifacts and the process of natural recomposition which has followed the use of the nuclear bombs. In a very exceptional way, the degradation of the human artifacts by the natural elements forms part of the cultural process illustrated by the property. The integrity of the testimony of the property must be strengthened by the appropriate use of the considerable mass of documentary material associated with the site and its history.

The site has not undergone any substantial reconstruction; human presence there has remained very limited because of the radionuclides produced by the explosions. The authenticity of the material elements constituting the property is unquestionable.

Protection and management measures required

The main threats to the property are the effects of climate change and the presence of stocks of bombs and fuel in the underwater part of the property. The property is protected by the Historic and Cultural Preservation Act (1991). The legal protection and traditional protection in place are appropriate, but they must be reinforced to include the protection of the land-based military remains. In view of the changeable nature of the property, which is slowly returning to a natural state, conservation takes on a specific meaning in this case, and it may be considered therefore that no specific programme to preserve tangible remains is necessary. However, it is essential to ensure safety by dealing with any remaining military risks, to draw up a detailed inventory and to ensure regular monitoring of the constituent parts of the property. The management system is adequate, but it must be confirmed, and must be strengthened in several areas, particularly as regards the Bikini Divers Group, visitor reception and interpretation, the Peace Museum and the documentation centre.

4. Requests the State Party to, within two years,

a) Draw up an inventory of the land-based properties that contribute to the value of the property; inscribe the most important of these on the national historic sites list; monitor their conservation, specifying the frequency for monitoring to be carried out and the organization that will take charge of monitoring.

b) Set up the Divers Group at Bikini;

c) Give consideration to the importance and value of the documentation relating to the history of the Bikini nuclear tests, and consider its management and its use, for example, in connection with the project for a Peace Museum and with regard to the interpretation of the property;

d) Provide details on the number of inhabitants of the atoll, and the prospects for future development;

e) Provide details on Bikini's marine surveillance system;

f) Strengthen the visitor reception and the presentation of the property's cultural values in connection with the Peace Museum project;

5. Also recommends the constitution of a coordinated international mission by the State Party dealing with the presence of bombs and fuel oil in the wrecks of the sunken vessels and recognizes that this is a threat to the property which could make visiting the wrecks dangerous and increase the risk of pollution of the lagoon. further recommends that a technical evaluation of these threats and a review of possible solutions be considered without delay.

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Code: 33 COM 8B.32

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-09/33.COM/8B and WHC-09/33.COM/INF.8B1.Add,

2. Refers the nomination of The Causses and the Cévennes, France, back to the State Party in order to allow it to:

a) Provide a more detailed inventory of the attributes of the property that relate to agro-pastoralism, in order to:

i) Justify the boundary of the property;

ii) Provide a basis for managing and sustaining the attributes, including processes and practices, that relate to agro-pastoralism;

b) Provide a nomination dossier that reflects the revised focus on agro-pastoralism and its manifestations;

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Code: 32 COM 8B.28

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-08/32.COM/8B and WHC-08/32.COM/INF.8B1,

2. Approves the extension of the Mountain Railways of India, India, to include the Kalka Shimla Railway on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (ii) and (iv);

3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

The Kalka Shimla Railway represents an exceptional technical achievement in the development of the Himalayan mountains because of its length, its altitude and the difficulty of the terrain through which it runs in difficult tropical climatic conditions.  The Kalka Shimla Railway was designed under British colonial rule, as Shimla was the government's summer capital. Furthermore, the Indian population quickly made use of the railway to settle in the mountains and set up enduring human communities. The effectiveness of rail transport, which considerably reduced the duration and difficulty of travel, was an essential factor in this social and cultural development. The Kalka Shimla Railway has seen its traction regularly upgraded, in a spirit of use in keeping with its origins, while its infrastructures have been maintained in very good condition, by ongoing maintenance and repair work, which has been both exemplary and in line with the railway's authenticity.

Criterion (ii): The Kalka Shimla Railway exhibits an important cultural and technology transfer in the colonial setting of the period of its construction, particularly with regard to the eminently political function of the terminus station, Shimla. The railway then enabled significant and enduring human settlement, of which it has remained the main vector up to the present day.

Criterion (iv): The Kalka Shimla Railway is an outstanding example, like the other two Indian railways already inscribed on the World Heritage List, of how access has been provided to the plains and plateaux of the Indian mountains. It is emblematic of the technical and material efforts of human societies of this period to disenclave mountain populations through the railway. It is a well-maintained living line. It is used in a spirit and for purposes that are the same as those at its inception.

The property has been very satisfactorily maintained since its inception, both with regard to the general state of infrastructure conservation and operation. The long continuity of maintenance and of uses for local passengers, goods and tourism, for more than one hundred years, is an important factor in the line's authenticity.

The legal protection in place is adequate. The public management of the line and its many employees are a guarantee of the conservation of its integrity and authenticity over the coming years, enabling a lasting expression of its heritage values. The management plan presented however lacks a programme for the conservation of the stations and annexes.

4. Recommends that the State Party give consideration to the following:

  • a) in the framework of the management plan, drawing up a detailed technical and architectural inventory of the stations and annex buildings included in the property, indicating their state of conservation and the planned programme of works, to ensure respect for the property's Outstanding Universal Value;
  • b) stepping up control of encroachment on land in the nominated property zone and in the buffer zone;
  • c) considering, as part of the management plan, more extensive local cooperation, in order to more fully present the property's Outstanding Universal Value and to organise visitor arrangements with this in mind

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