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World Heritage Convention

Decision 43 COM 7.2
Pressing conservation issues

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC/19/43.COM/7, WHC/19/43.COM/7A, WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add, WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.3, WHC/19/43.COM/7B, WHC/19/43.COM/7B.Add, WHC/19/43.COM/7B.Add.2 and WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.3,
  2. Recalling Decisions 40 COM 7, 41 COM 7, and 42 COM 7, adopted at its 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016), 41st (Krakow, 2017) and 42nd (Manama, 2018) sessions respectively,

    Emergency situations resulting from conflicts

  3. Deplores the loss of human life as well as the degradation of humanitarian conditions resulting from the prevailing conflict situations in several countries, and expresses its utmost concern at the devastating damage sustained and the continuing threats facing cultural and natural heritage in general;
  4. Expresses its deep concern at the inter-community conflicts observed in Mali between the Dogon and Fulani communities, which have caused considerable loss of human life and significant damage to the cultural heritage, particularly within the World Heritage property of the Cliffs of Bandiagara (Land of the Dogons);
  5. Thanks the State Party of Mali for the urgent actions that have been put in place to ensure the safety of communities in and around the property, and encourages the State Party, to also take into account in its actions the protection of the property’s rich cultural heritage, and to do so in collaboration with the stakeholders involved in the establishment of long-term peace in Mali;
  6. Welcomes the dispatch of a UNESCO mission to assess the damage caused to the property, and identify the needs related to the built and intangible cultural heritage and the objects and practices associated with the Cliffs of Bandiagara, in order to propose an Action Plan for the rehabilitation of the villages concerned;
  7. Urges again all parties associated with conflicts to refrain from any action that would cause further damage to cultural and natural heritage and to fulfill their obligations under international law by taking all possible measures to protect such heritage, in particular the safeguarding of World Heritage properties and the sites included in the Tentative List;
  8. Also urges again States Parties to adopt measures against using World Heritage properties for military purposes and to stop related uncontrolled development and impact;
  9. Reiterates its utmost concern about the continuing threats of wildlife poaching and illegal trafficking of wildlife products linked to impacts of conflict and organized crime, which is eroding the biodiversity and Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of many World Heritage sites across the world, and urges States Parties to take the necessary measures to curb this problem, including through the implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES);
  10. Calls upon the international community to further support the safeguarding of the cultural and natural heritage of countries affected by conflict, through earmarked funds or through contributions to the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund;
  11. Appeals to all Member States of UNESCO to cooperate in the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural objects, as well as cultural heritage protection in general, including through the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2199 (2015), 2253 (2015) and 2347 (2017);


  12. Thanks the State Party of Poland for the efforts to widely disseminate the Warsaw Recommendation on Recovery and Reconstruction of Cultural Heritage, as well as the proceedings of the international conference "The Challenges of World Heritage Recovery" held in Warsaw in May 2018;
  13. Welcomes the policy document "Culture in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of cities", published by UNESCO and the World Bank, which contributes to the reflection launched on the challenges related to the reconstruction of World Heritage properties;
  14. Requests the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM and the States Parties to the World Heritage Convention, to continue the reflection on the recovery and reconstruction of World Heritage properties, and requests the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies report back to the World Heritage Committee on the progress made in improving advice in this regard;

    Climate Change

  15. Notes with appreciation the initiatives taken by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to advance work on updating the Policy Document on the Impacts of Climate Change on World Heritage properties, including through a planned widespread online consultation with States Parties, Advisory Bodies and civil society;
  16. Requests that the development of the updated Policy Document be completed for consideration by the Committee at its 44th session in 2020;
  17. Welcomes the initiative taken by the World Heritage Centre together with a global private-public consortium of partners, to build climate adaptation strategies across five marine World Heritage sites in Australia, Belize, France and Palau;
  18. Urges all States Parties to step up action toward better understanding the climate vulnerability of World Heritage properties and put in place adaptation strategies that strengthen the resilience of properties and ensure the conservation of their Outstanding Universal Value.