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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
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee recommends to strengthen the protection of the immediate and wider setting of properties for addressing the impact of wind turbines, and to identify a wind turbine exclusion zone, based on the potential visual impact on the components of the property (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme: 3.5.3 - Utilities or service infrastructure
See for examples Decisions:  32 COM 7B.118 34 COM 7B.83 36 COM 7B.74 41 COM 7B.45 41 COM 8B.19
Threats:  Localised utilities Major linear utilities Non-renewable energy facilities Renewable energy facilities Water 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 to conduct an adequate environmental impact study for the power transmission lines, before any decision is taken (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme: 3.5.3 - Utilities or service infrastructure
See for examples Decisions:  21 BUR IVB.33 25 BUR V.126-127 37 COM 7B.79 38 COM 7B.59
Threats:  Localised utilities Major linear utilities Non-renewable energy facilities Renewable energy facilities Water 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 enhance the regulation and monitoring of pollution, and to create management plans that consider options to address and to put in place adequate measures to mitigate the impact associated to the pollution, and its potential impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, including the control of sources of pollution affecting the property (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme: 3.5.4 - Pollution
See for examples Decisions:  31 COM 7B.31 31 COM 7B.4 33 COM 7B.28 35 COM 7B.23 36 COM 7B.22 41 COM 7B.25
Threats:  Air pollution Ground water pollution Input of excess energy Pollution of marine waters Solid waste Surface water pollution
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 considers it is crucial to ensure the maintenance of ecological connectivity between the property’s component parts, by strengthening and improving measures to ensure consistency and greater functional linkages between component sites of a property and its surrounding, and to develop appropriate measures to minimize the effects of any activity on ecological connectivity and/or ensure its restoration (based on case law on decisions on State of Conservation and Nomination).
Theme: 3.5.5 - Biological resource use/modification
See for examples Decisions:  35 COM 8B.9 41 COM 7B.37 43 COM 7A.8 43 COM 8B.10 44 COM 7B.175 44 COM 7B.174 44 COM 7B.114
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee encourages States Parties to ensure that no commercial logging can be permitted within the property/to ban all commercial logging (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme: 3.5.5 - Biological resource use/modification
See for examples Decisions:  37 COM 7B.26 38 COM 7A.45 41 COM 7A.19 41 COM 7B.4 41 COM 7B.1
Threats:  Aquaculture Commercial hunting Commercial wild plant collection Crop production Fishing/collecting aquatic resources Forestry /wood production Land conversion Livestock farming / grazing of domesticated animals Subsistence hunting Subsistence wild plant collection
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee requests to undertake research to determine the effects and impact from existing resource use, including fishing activities, grazing and collection of medicinal plants on the OUV of the property and to work with communities and to fully involve local resource users to promote sustainable resource uses and practices (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme: 3.5.5 - Biological resource use/modification
See for examples Decisions:  38 COM 7B.84 38 COM 7B.62 40 COM 7B.85 41 COM 7B.17 41 COM 7B.15 43 COM 7B.8
Threats:  Aquaculture Commercial hunting Commercial wild plant collection Crop production Fishing/collecting aquatic resources Forestry /wood production Land conversion Livestock farming / grazing of domesticated animals Subsistence hunting Subsistence wild plant collection
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties

18. "[The World Heritage Committee] notes with significant concern that World Heritage properties are increasingly threatened by extractive industries (…), once again urges all States Parties to the Convention and leading industry stakeholders to respect the "No-go" commitment by not permitting extractive activities within World Heritage properties, and by making every effort to ensure that extractives companies located in their territory cause no damage to World Heritage properties, in line with Article 6 of the Convention."

Theme: 3.5.6 - Physical resource extraction
Decision: 37 COM 7 40 COM 7
Threats:  Mining Oil and gas Quarrying Water (extraction)
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee requests States Parties not to explore or mine in World Heritage properties, in line with the Committee’s established position that mineral exploration and mining are incompatible with World Heritage status and the international policy statement of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) of not undertaking these activities in World Heritage properties (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme: 3.5.6 - Physical resource extraction
See for examples Decisions:  35 COM 7B.22 37 COM 7B.8 40 COM 7B.104 41 COM 7A.19
Threats:  Mining Oil and gas Quarrying Water (extraction)
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee reiterates that mining activities and oil and gas exploration and exploitation are incompatible with World Heritage status (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme: 3.5.6 - Physical resource extraction
See for examples Decisions:  38 COM 7B.92 38 COM 7B.80 40 COM 7B.85 40 COM 7B.71
Threats:  Mining Oil and gas Quarrying Water (extraction)
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

When mining or other type of exploitation is foreseen, the World Heritage Committee requests to get an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, meeting international standards, before any commencement of exploitation at the property and adjacent to the property (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme: 3.5.6 - Physical resource extraction
See for examples Decisions:  35 COM 7B.22 36 COM 7B.1 38 COM 7B.92
Threats:  Mining Oil and gas Quarrying Water (extraction)
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee requests States Parties to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the conditions as well as an analysis of ways to address the underlying causes of local conditions affecting the fabric, and to elaborate a comprehensive strategy to address the impacts, including priority emergency measures, mitigation measures and an intervention programme (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme: 3.5.7 - Local conditions affecting the fabric
See for examples Decisions:  36 COM 7A.34 37 COM 7A.23 37 COM 7B.74 38 COM 7A.1 40 COM 7A.14 40 COM 7A.9 41 COM 7A.32 41 COM 7A.27
Threats:  Dust Micro-organisms Pests Radiation/light Relative humidity Temperature Water (rain/water table) Wind
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties

Paragraph 90

“For all properties nominated under criteria (vii) - (x), bio-physical processes and landform features should be relatively intact. However, it is recognized that no area is totally pristine and that all natural areas are in a dynamic state, and to some extent involve contact with people. Biological diversity and cultural diversity can be closely linked and interdependent and human activities, including those of traditional societies, local communities and indigenous peoples, often occur in natural areas. These activities may be consistent with the Outstanding Universal Value of the area where they are ecologically sustainable.”

Theme: 3.5.8 - Social/cultural uses of heritage
Source: OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)
Threats:  Changes in traditional ways of life and knowledge system Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation Indigenous hunting, gathering and collecting Ritual / spiritual / religious and associative uses Society's valuing of heritage
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties

Paragraph 119

“World Heritage properties may sustain biological and cultural diversity and provide ecosystem services and other benefits, which may contribute to environmental and cultural sustainability. Properties may support a variety of ongoing and proposed uses that are ecologically and culturally sustainable and which may enhance the quality of life and well-being of communities concerned. The State Party and its partners must ensure their use is equitable and fully respects the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. For some properties, human use would not be appropriate. Legislation, policies and strategies affecting World Heritage properties should ensure the protection of the Outstanding Universal Value, support the wider conservation of natural and cultural heritage, and promote and encourage the effective, inclusive and equitable participation of the communities, indigenous peoples and other stakeholders concerned with the property as necessary conditions to its sustainable protection, conservation, management and presentation.”

Theme: 3.5.8 - Social/cultural uses of heritage
Source: OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)
Threats:  Changes in traditional ways of life and knowledge system Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation Indigenous hunting, gathering and collecting Ritual / spiritual / religious and associative uses Society's valuing of heritage
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee requests States Parties to strengthen the cooperation with local communities, civil society and in particular the indigenous communities, including consideration of traditional knowledge for the management of the property (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme: 3.5.8 - Social/cultural uses of heritage
See for examples Decisions:  36 COM 7B.25 43 COM 7A.2
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee requests States Parties to assess the impacts of grazing, hunting and other human traditional activities on the biodiversity in the traditional use zone and develop a policy for the sustainable use of the natural resources in the traditional use zones in the property in close cooperation with the indigenous communities using these areas (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme: 3.5.8 - Social/cultural uses of heritage
See for examples Decisions:  32 COM 7B.41 36 COM 7B.25 40 COM 7B.88 40 COM 7B.79
Threats:  Changes in traditional ways of life and knowledge system Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation Indigenous hunting, gathering and collecting Ritual / spiritual / religious and associative uses Society's valuing of heritage
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee encourages States Parties to take into account the traditional uses of local communities and to support the livelihoods of local communities through initiatives related to environmentally and culturally compatible options in order to prevent any threats from human activity to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and to promote the sustainable exploitation of resources and sustainable livelihoods (based on case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme: 3.5.8 - Social/cultural uses of heritage
See for examples Decisions:  38 COM 7B.61 39 COM 7B.66 39 COM 7B.61 39 COM 7B.52 40 COM 7A.37 40 COM 7B.86 40 COM 7B.64 41 COM 7A.19 41 COM 7B.79 41 COM 7B.35 41 COM 7B.29 41 COM 7B.19
Threats:  Changes in traditional ways of life and knowledge system Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation Indigenous hunting, gathering and collecting Ritual / spiritual / religious and associative uses Society's valuing of heritage
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee recommends States Parties to consider measures in order to address ways to respect the cultural and spiritual values and practices, and sustain the spiritual associations at World Heritage properties (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme: 3.5.8 - Social/cultural uses of heritage
See for examples Decisions:  38 COM 7B.53 40 COM 7B.89 41 COM 7B.96
Threats:  Changes in traditional ways of life and knowledge system Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation Indigenous hunting, gathering and collecting Ritual / spiritual / religious and associative uses Society's valuing of heritage
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee recommends States Parties to pay special attention to the living religious heritage at properties, and to adopt efficient regulatory and management instruments to allow for religious uses at concerned properties (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme: 3.5.8 - Social/cultural uses of heritage
See for examples Decisions:  38 COM 7A.1 38 COM 7B.32 39 COM 7A.24 41 COM 7A.32
Threats:  Changes in traditional ways of life and knowledge system Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation Indigenous hunting, gathering and collecting Ritual / spiritual / religious and associative uses
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

For the impact of tourism, the World Heritage Committee encourages States Parties, prior to any development of tourism facilities (resort development, ski facilities, golf resorts, etc.) that its potential impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) has been thoroughly assessed and to develop and implement a clear tourism strategy (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme: 3.5.8 - Social/cultural uses of heritage
See for examples Decisions:  31 COM 7B.29 37 COM 7B.28 40 COM 7B.74 41 COM 7B.32
Threats:  Changes in traditional ways of life and knowledge system Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation Indigenous hunting, gathering and collecting Ritual / spiritual / religious and associative uses Society's valuing of heritage
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee requests States Parties to take measures to mitigate the impacts of mass tourism representing potential threats to the OUV of a property (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme: 3.5.8 - Social/cultural uses of heritage
See for examples Decisions:  41 COM 7B.43 43 COM 7B.58

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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