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Policy Compendium

Themes3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Propertiesclose3.1 - Protection, conservation and management of World Heritage propertiesclose3.2 - Monitoring close3.3 - Impact assessmentsclose3.4 - Disaster risks managementclose3.5 - Factors affecting propertiesclose3.6 - Tourism and visitor managementclose3.7 - Sustainable developmentclose3.2.1 - Generalclose3.2.2 - Periodic Reportingclose3.2.3 - Reactive Monitoringclose3.2.4 - List of World Heritage in Dangerclose3.2.5 - Deletion of a World Heritage property from the Listclose3.5.1 - Buildings and development close3.5.2 - Transportation infrastructureclose3.5.3 - Utilities or service infrastructureclose3.5.4 - Pollution close3.5.5 - Biological resource use/modification close3.5.6 - Physical resource extractionclose3.5.7 - Local conditions affecting the fabric close3.5.8 - Social/cultural uses of heritage close3.5.9 - Other human activities close3.5.10 - Climate change and severe weather eventsclose3.5.11 - Sudden ecological or geological events close3.5.12 - Invasive/alien species or hyper-abundant species close3.5.13 - Management and institutional factors close
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3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
"30. [The World Heritage Committee] notes that the pressures on historic urban areas arising from inappropriate or inconsistent development controls, rapid, uncontrolled and planned development, including large development projects, additions that are incompatible in their volume, mass tourism, as well as the accumulated impact of incremental changes have continued within numerous World Heritage properties and in their buffer zones and settings, and considers that these present potential and actual major threats to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of properties, including their integrity and authenticity, as well as increasing their vulnerability to disasters, including those resulting from climate change;
(…)
34. [The World Heritage Committee] (s)tresses the importance of carrying out Heritage Impact Assessments to evaluate and thereby avoid or manage potential threats to the OUV of the property arising from new urban development projects."
Theme: 3.3 - Impact assessments
3.5.1 - Buildings and development
Decision: 44 COM 7.2
Threats:  Commercial development Housing Industrial areas Interpretative and visitation facilities Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
37. "[The World Heritage Committee] stresses the necessity for HIAs and Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) to be proportionate to the scope and scale of projects, with simpler assessments being undertaken for smaller projects and Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs) for very large projects, and the necessity for assessments to be undertaken in a timely fashion and submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies (…)."
Theme: 3.3 - Impact assessments
Decision: 42 COM 7
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee requests the States Parties to provide, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, detailed information on the planning and design of proposed and on-going projects, which may impact on the visual integrity of the World Heritage property or its immediate and wider setting, and undertake a visual impact study, for review by the Advisory Bodies, prior to approval and implementation and before making any decisions that would be difficult to reverse (Based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme: 3.3 - Impact assessments
See for examples Decisions:  27 COM 7B.67 28 COM 15B.74 28 COM 15B.71 31 COM 7B.94 31 COM 7B.90 31 COM 7B.89 32 COM 7B.72 33 COM 7B.113 35 COM 7B.96 37 COM 7B.96 38 COM 7B.42 41 COM 7B.43 41 COM 7B.23
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee requests the States Parties to ensure that development is not permitted if it would impact individually or cumulatively on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme: 3.3 - Impact assessments
See for examples Decisions:  36 COM 7B.8 38 COM 7B.69 38 COM 7B.62 39 COM 7B.15 40 COM 7B.105 41 COM 7B.42 43 COM 7B.4 44 COM 8B.38
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
"28. [The World Heritage Committee]  (r)equests States Parties to implement best practice fire management strategies to ensure the protection and management of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) including, where appropriate, to:
a) Prepare site-level fire vulnerability and risk assessments, mitigation, Risk Preparedness, response and recovery plans in the event of potential severe fire impacts on heritage values,
b) Incorporate fire research, monitoring of impact, emergency response and mitigation and preparedness measures into management decisions,
c) Work with stakeholders to raise awareness on fire risks among communities and build greater capacity to respond and recover following fires,
d) Consider customised approaches and strategies that reflect the characteristics and circumstances of naturally and anthropogenically generated fires,
e) Explore the potential of new technologies for application in fire managing strategies, including monitoring, and firefighting systems, that will not have negative impact on OUV of the properties,
f) Take strong actions to address human-induced climate change in line with global United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) commitments."
Theme: 3.4 - Disaster risks management
3.5.11 - Sudden ecological or geological events
Decision: 44 COM 7.2
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
7. “(…)

a) Cultural and natural heritage, with their related technologies, practices, skills, knowledge systems and ecosystem’s goods and services can play an important positive role in reducing risks from disasters at all phases of the process (readiness, response and recovery), and hence in contributing to sustainable development in general”.

b) The key to an effective reduction of risks from disasters is advance planning and the building of a culture of prevention”.

c) In developing plans for reducing risks at World Heritage properties it is essential to give adequate consideration to cultural diversity, age, vulnerable groups and gender perspective”.

d) Property occupants and users, and concerned communities in general, should be always involved in planning for disaster risk reduction”.

e) The protection of the Outstanding Universal Value and the integrity and authenticity of World Heritage properties from disasters implies consideration for the associated intangible aspects and movable items that contribute directly to its heritage significance.

(…).
9. The five objectives [of the Strategy for Reducing Risks from Disaster at World Heritage Properties] are the following:

a) Strengthen support within relevant global, regional, national and local institutions for reducing risks at World Heritage properties;

b) Use knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of disaster prevention at World Heritage properties;

c) Identify, assess and monitor disaster risks at World Heritage properties;

d) Reduce underlying risk factors at World Heritage properties;

e) Strengthen disaster risk preparedness at World Heritage properties for effective response at all levels".

Theme: 3.4 - Disaster risks management
Source: WHC-07/31.COM/7.2 Issues related to the state of conservation of World Heritage properties: Strategy for Reducing Risks from Disasters at World Heritage properties
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
16. “In the face of increasing disaster risks and the impact of climate change, States Parties should recognise that World Heritage represents both an asset to be protected and a resource to strengthen the ability of communities and their properties to resist, absorb, and recover from the effects of a hazard. In line with disaster risks and climate change multilateral agreements, States Parties should:

i. Recognise and promote – within conservation and management strategies – the inherent potential of World Heritage properties for reducing disaster risks and adapting to climate change, through associated ecosystem services, traditional knowledge and practices and strengthened social cohesion.

ii. Reduce the vulnerability of World Heritage properties and their settings as well as promote the social and economic resilience of local and associated communities to disaster and climate change through structural and non-structural measures, including public awareness-raising, training and education. Structural measures, in particular, should not adversely affect the OUV of World Heritage properties;

iii. Enhance preparedness for effective response and ‘building-back-better’ in post-disaster recovery strategies within management systems and conservation practice for World Heritage properties”.

Theme: 3.4 - Disaster risks management
Source: Policy for the integration of a sustainable development perspective into the processes of the World Heritage Convention (WHC-15/20.GA/INF.13)
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties

16. "[The World Heritage Committee] urges States Parties to include risk mitigation measures in the management plans of World Heritage properties to address the potential effects of conflicts or disasters on their integrity;"

Theme: 3.4 - Disaster risks management
Decision: 41 COM 7
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
5. "[The World Heritage Committee requests States Parties] to make every endeavour to take into consideration disaster risks, including from human-induced hazards, in the management plans and systems for the World Heritage properties located in their territories."
Theme: 3.4 - Disaster risks management
Decision: 36 COM 7C
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
24. "[The World Heritage Committee] also recalls the need for all States Parties to continue, and where necessary to strengthen all efforts to build resilience of World Heritage properties to Climate Change, including by further reducing to the greatest extent possible all other pressures and threats, and by developing and implementing climate adaptation strategies for properties at risk of Climate Change impacts."
Theme: 3.4 - Disaster risks management
3.5.10 - Climate change and severe weather events
Decision: 41 COM 7
Threats:  Changes to oceanic waters Desertification Drought Flooding Other climate change impacts Storms Temperature change
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
24. "[The World Heritage Committee] encourages States Parties and other stakeholders to further strengthen international cooperation aiming at mitigating impacts of major natural disasters affecting World Heritage properties and reducing vulnerabilities on lives, properties and livelihoods."
Theme: 3.4 - Disaster risks management
Decision: 42 COM 7
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
Preamble

“The dynamic nature of living cities [must be recognized]. However, (…) rapid and frequently uncontrolled development is transforming urban areas and their settings, which may cause fragmentation and deterioration to urban heritage with deep impacts on community values, throughout the world”.


Preamble

“In order to support the protection of natural and cultural heritage, emphasis needs to be put on the integration of historic urban area conservation, management and planning strategies into local development processes and urban planning, such as, contemporary architecture and infrastructure development, for which the application of a landscape approach would help maintain urban identity”.



22. “Conservation of the urban heritage should be integrated into general policy planning and practices and those related to the broader urban context. Policies should provide mechanisms for balancing conservation and sustainability in the short and long terms. Special emphasis should be placed on the harmonious, integration of contemporary interventions into the historic urban fabric. In particular, the responsibilities of the different stakeholders are the following:

(a) Member States should integrate urban heritage conservation strategies into national development policies and agendas according to the historic urban landscape approach. Within this framework, local authorities should prepare urban development plans taking into account the area’s values, including the landscape and other heritage values, and features associated therewith;

(b) Public and private stakeholders should cooperate, inter alia, through partnerships to ensure the successful application of the historic urban landscape approach;

(c) International organizations dealing with sustainable development processes should integrate the historic urban landscape approach into their strategies, plans and operations;

(d) National and international non-governmental organizations should participate in developing and disseminating tools and best practices for the implementation of the historic urban landscape approach”.

Theme: 3.5.1 - Buildings and development
Source: Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL)
Threats:  Commercial development Housing Industrial areas Interpretative and visitation facilities Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
8. "Given the percentage of threats related to Development and infrastructure projects and to high-rise buildings (…) [the World Heritage Committee] stresses the need for structured heritage impact assessments of major projects to be carried out at the earliest opportunity in order to assess the impact of potential projects on Outstanding Universal Value of World Heritage properties."
Theme: 3.5.1 - Buildings and development
Decision: 34 COM 7C
Threats:  Commercial development Housing Industrial areas Interpretative and visitation facilities Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee recommends to develop a comprehensive urban land use plan, which includes provisions for protection mechanisms and regulatory measures to ensure the adequate protection and control of the property and its landscape setting (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme: 3.5.1 - Buildings and development
See for examples Decisions:  34 COM 7A.27 36 COM 7B.61 41 COM 7B.41
Threats:  Commercial development Housing Industrial areas Interpretative and visitation facilities Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee recommends to put in place appropriate protection and planning measures and to develop an integrated urban conservation and development tool, in the urban settlement and its wider context, in order to address development pressures, to protect the urban landscape and prevent the construction of new buildings that could have a visual impact (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme: 3.5.1 - Buildings and development
See for examples Decisions:  32 COM 7B.84 32 COM 7B.72 33 COM 7B.67 36 COM 7B.88 37 COM 7B.71 40 COM 7B.49 41 COM 7 41 COM 7B.53 41 COM 7B.42 41 COM 7B.40
Threats:  Commercial development Housing Industrial areas Interpretative and visitation facilities Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee requests to develop effective traffic management studies and elaborate measures and strategies, including monitoring, when the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) could be affected by traffic (based on case law on decisions on the State of Conservation and Nomination).
Theme: 3.5.2 - Transportation infrastructure
See for examples Decisions:  35 COM 7B.67 38 COM 7B.28 39 COM 7A.48 41 COM 7B.94 42 COM 7B.52 43 COM 7B.45 43 COM 8B.32 44 COM 7B.127 44 COM 7B.37 44 COM 8B.5
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties

25. "[The World Heritage Committee] notes with concern that the number of cases of ground transport infrastructure having potential impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of World Heritage properties is continuing to grow, and calls upon States Parties to carry out Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs) early in the process of transportation planning to allow for potential impacts of the OUV, including those resulting from foreseeable associated future developments, to be identified prior to the development of specific projects;

26. Encourages States Parties to carry out Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and Heritage Impact Assessments (HIA) on ground transport projects, once they are designed, with multiple options to ensure that transportation needs can be met with minimal impacts on the OUV of World Heritage properties."

Theme: 3.5.2 - Transportation infrastructure
Decision: 40 COM 7
Threats:  Air transport infrastructure Effects arising from use of transportation infrastructure Ground transport infrastructure Marine transport infrastructure Underground transport infrastructure
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee requests Heritage Impact Assessments and Environmental Impact Assessments of all significant development proposals in the property and of any major transportation infrastructure project, before approval for the schemes is granted and prior to making any decisions that would be difficult to reverse, including definitive location and plans for construction, in order to identify any adverse impacts on the property and ways to mitigate these impacts, and to submit the HIA and the EIA to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme: 3.5.2 - Transportation infrastructure
See for examples Decisions:  32 COM 7B.122 36 COM 7B.100 36 COM 7B.80 37 COM 7B.65 38 COM 7B.62 39 COM 7B.91 40 COM 7B.55 41 COM 7B.69 41 COM 7B.59 41 COM 7B.31
Threats:  Air transport infrastructure Effects arising from use of transportation infrastructure Ground transport infrastructure Marine transport infrastructure Underground transport infrastructure
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee requests the State Party to submit, in accordance to Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, details about any cable car project, including design, technical specifications and precise location of the route, in relation to the inscribed property, together with a HIA and an EIA, well before any irrevocable decisions are taken about the construction of the cable car (based on case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme: 3.5.2 - Transportation infrastructure
See for examples Decisions:  37 COM 7B.102 38 COM 7B.77 38 COM 7B.45 40 COM 7B.91 42 COM 7B.26
Threats:  Air transport infrastructure Effects arising from use of transportation infrastructure Ground transport infrastructure Marine transport infrastructure Underground transport infrastructure
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
17. "[The World Heritage Committee, noting] with significant concern that an increasing number of properties are facing potential threats from major dam projects, considers that the construction of dams with large reservoirs within the boundaries of World Heritage properties is incompatible with their World Heritage status, and urges States Parties to ensure that the impacts from dams that could affect properties located upstream or downstream within the same river basin are rigorously assessed in order to avoid impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV)."
Theme: 3.5.3 - Utilities or service infrastructure
Decision: 40 COM 7
Threats:  Localised utilities Major linear utilities Non-renewable energy facilities Renewable energy facilities Water infrastructure

The World Heritage Policy Compendium was elaborated thanks to the generous contribution of the Government of Australia.

The World Heritage Policy Compendium On-line tool was developed thanks to the generous contribution of the Government of Korea.


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