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World Heritage
POLICY COMPENDIUM

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3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties

26. "World Heritage properties are important travel destinations that, if managed properly, have great potential for inclusive local economic development, sustainability and strengthening social resilience. Sustainable forms of tourism development, including community-based initiatives, should be accompanied by inclusive and equitable economic investment to ensure benefit sharing in and around World Heritage properties."
Theme:  3.6 - Tourism and visitor 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

7. “If undertaken responsibly, tourism can be a driver for preservation and conservation of cultural and natural heritage and a vehicle for sustainable development. But if unplanned or not properly managed, tourism can be socially, culturally and economically disruptive, and have a devastating effect on fragile environments and local communities”.

18. “World Heritage and tourism stakeholders share responsibility for conservation of our common cultural and natural heritage of Outstanding Universal Value and for sustainable development through appropriate tourism management”.

Theme:  3.6 - Tourism and visitor management
Source:  WHC-12/36.COM/5E World Heritage Tourism Programme

3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties

2. "(…) The relationship between World Heritage and tourism is two way: tourism, if managed well, offers benefits to World Heritage properties and can contribute to cross-cultural exchange but, if not managed well, poses challenges to these properties (…);

Attachment A. Policy orientations: defining the relationship between World Heritage and tourism

2. (...)

Tourism is critical for World Heritage:

a. For States Parties and their individual properties,

i. to meet the requirement in the Convention to 'present' World Heritage;

ii. to realise community and economic benefits.

b. For the World Heritage Convention as a whole, as the means by which World Heritage properties are experienced by visitors travelling nationally and internationally,

c. As a major means by which the performance of World Heritage properties, and therefore the standing of the Convention, is judged,

i. many World Heritage properties do not identify themselves as such, or do not adequately present their Outstanding Universal Value;

ii. it would be beneficial to develop indicators of the quality of presentation, and the representation of the World Heritage brand.

d. As a credibility issue in relation to: i. the potential for tourism infrastructure to damage Outstanding Universal Value

i. the threat that World Heritage properties may be unsustainably managed in relation to their adjoining communities;

ii. sustaining the conservation objectives of the Convention whilst engaging with economic development;

iii. realistic aspirations that World Heritage can attract tourism."

Theme:  3.6 - Tourism and visitor management
Decision:  34 COM 5F.2

3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties

5. "[The World Heritage Committee] also noting that tourism development in and around World Heritage properties is a key issue for their management, strongly encourages States Parties to ensure sustainable planning and management of tourism at World Heritage properties and to contribute to the implementation of the World Heritage Centre’s World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme."

Theme:  3.6 - Tourism and visitor management
Decision:  38 COM 7

3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties

Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee recommends States Parties to develop a comprehensive tourism management plan or a sustainable tourism strategy, including a set of measures to address the tourism pressure on the site (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme:  3.6 - Tourism and visitor management
See for examples Decisions:  35 COM 7B.17 36 COM 7B.78 36 COM 7B.17 37 COM 7B.19 38 COM 7B.92 38 COM 7B.27 39 COM 7B.61 40 COM 7B.81 40 COM 7B.74 40 COM 7B.50

3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties

Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

At sites with a high tourism pressure, the World Heritage Committee requests States Parties to put in place all necessary strategic, planning and management frameworks as well as legal regulations for cruise ship tourism, including identification of the sustainable carrying capacity of the site and an analysis of the impact on the World Heritage property by cruise ships (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme:  3.6 - Tourism and visitor management
See for examples Decisions:  31 COM 7B.24 38 COM 7B.27 40 COM 7B.52 40 COM 7B.50

1 - General Policies Regarding the World Heritage Convention

10. "[The World Heritage Committee] Acknowledging the contribution of sustainable tourism to the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the positive impact it can have on local communities and the protection of World Heritage properties, nevertheless notes with concern that the number of properties negatively affected by overcrowding, congestion and tourism infrastructure development continues to increase;

11. Noting that the protection of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) must be a central objective for all World Heritage properties, requests States Parties to develop visitor management plans and strategies that address the seasonality of tourism (smoothing visitor numbers over time and spreading visitors across sites), encourage longer more in-depth experiences promoting tourism products and services that reflect natural and cultural values, and limit access and activities to improve visitor flows and experiences, while reducing pressures on the attributes which underpin OUV."
Theme:  1.2 - UNESCO standard-setting texts and synergies with other Conventions and Programmes
3.5.8 - Social/cultural uses of heritage
3.6 - Tourism and visitor management
Decision:  43 COM 7.3

3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties

3.5 - Factors affecting properties

46. "[The World Heritage Committee] requests States Parties to develop Visitor Management Plans that assess appropriate carrying capacity of properties for visitors and address the issue of unregulated tourism."

Theme:  3.5.8 - Social/cultural uses of heritage
3.6 - Tourism and visitor management
Decision:  42 COM 7
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

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

4 - Policies Regarding CAPACITY-BUILDING

3. “[The World Heritage Capacity Building Strategy] proposes a paradigm shift to step beyond conventional training to embrace a capacity building approach. Current needs demonstrate that the audience for capacity building for World Heritage conservation and management activities is wide, diverse and growing. Creating and strengthening capacities of institutions and of networks that link the heritage sector to wider communities is as much a priority as the training of individual practitioners. Capacities reside on practitioners, institutions, and communities and networks, which are the target audiences for capacity building at the Strategy (…). Capacity building – whether of practitioners, institutions or communities and networks- is seen as a form of people-centered change that entails working with groups of individuals to achieve improvements in approaches to managing cultural and natural heritage (…). Capacity building should be understood as the most cost-effective means by which World Heritage Committee can protect the Outstanding Universal Value and other values of World Heritage properties and ensure a mutually beneficial dynamic between heritage and society”.

4. “[The Strategy also proposes a paradigm shift from] treating natural and cultural heritage actors separately to the realization that capacity building actions can be strengthened by creating joint opportunities (…).”

7. “Vision. We envisage a world where practitioners, institutions, communities and networks are enlightened, capable and closely aligned in their work to protect World Heritage, and heritage in general, and to give it a positive role in the life of communities. Practitioners will be able to better protect and manage World Heritage. Institutions will be capable of providing support for effective conservation and management through favorable legislation and policies, establishing a more effective administrative set-up and providing financial and human resources for heritage protection. Communities and networks will be aware of the importance of heritage and support its conservation”.

9. “Key Goals and Summary Action Plan on World Heritage Capacity Building. The Capacity Building Strategy is organized according to the “5Cs” that represent the established strategic directions of the World Heritage Convention. The table below sets out the 9 main goals of the Strategy, the principal actions that are recommended in relation to each, and the main audience in terms of practitioners, institutions and communities”.

10. “The World Heritage Capacity Building Strategy foresees each UNESCO region developing a regional capacity building strategy and associated programmes for strengthening capacities at the regional level. This strategy will be different for each region in order to respond to the specific needs and situation in each of the regions.”

11. “National Capacity Building Strategies. It would also be useful for interested State Parties to develop national capacity building strategies. These strategies can use a similar methodology as the one at the regional level, and can also be carried out at the time of the preparation and analysis of the Periodic Reporting questionnaires. This exercise will allow an individual State Party to better understand specific national and property based capacity building needs. The State Party should also investigate what national, regional, and international capacity building institutions exist that can assist in the development of national and local capacities. These national capacity building strategies could be very useful for State Parties to be able to analyze the exact human resource needs at national institutions (not just for heritage organizations, but also related institutions dealing with tourism, planning, development, etc). These national strategies would also be best placed to ensure that there is capacity building for other relevant stakeholders at the level of World Heritage properties and in particular at the level of local communities. In certain instances, it may be useful for more than one country to work on a joint strategy. The World Heritage Centre, Advisory Bodies, and other capacity building providers should provide necessary technical support and facilitation to States Parties wishing to develop national strategies”.

Theme:  4.2 - Global capacity-building strategy
Source:  WHC-11/35.COM/9B Presentation and adoption of the World Heritage strategy for capacity building

6 - Policies Regarding COMMUNITIES

15. g) “[The World Heritage Committee encourages States Parties to] establish and promote horizontal cooperation and understanding among various institutions that have an impact on cultural and natural heritage, also including governmental institutions responsible for UNESCO programmes implementation on national level, economy, finance, regional development/ planning, tourism, social welfare as well as local authorities”.
Theme:  6.1 - Participation of local communities and other stakeholders
Decision:  35 COM 12E
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