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World Heritage Convention

Decision 33 COM 7B.100
Prehistoric Sites and Decorated Caves of the Vézère Valley (France) (C 85)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-09/33.COM/7B.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.88, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Considers that the State Party has made progress in putting in place measures to strengthening the functioning of an independent International Scientific Committee and in proposing changes in governance to separate administrative and scientific functions, and requests that these need to be implemented as soon as possible;

4. Notes the work planned to consider the impact of different mitigation approaches and also considers that the Protocol on Intervention that has been developed should be made public, as this could be used as a best practice example for other similar properties;

5. Also notes the progress made in communicating details of work and approaches and considers that it would be helpful to develop a communication strategy to ensure consistency;

6. Further notes with concern the results of the March 2009 reactive monitoring mission to the property;

7. Notes furthermore that although currently only some of the paintings have been directly affected, and the overall impact of the various outbreaks of mould on the paintings has not threatened so far the Outstanding Universal Value and integrity of the property, the situation remains worrisome;

8. Acknowledges the good work that has been carried out by the State Party and urges the State Party to continue its process of research and mitigation;

9. Further considers nevertheless the extreme urgency of the work being undertaken to identify the optimum approaches to mitigation and research to document and map the overall climatic conditions of the cave as a precursor to the development of appropriate climate control mechanisms;

10. Considers furthermore that interventions should be based on prudence and a clearly articulated conservation approach in the absence of further emergencies;

11. Urges the State Party to formalize the new management framework based on a separation between administrative and scientific functions, and also requests the State Party to give appropriate resources to the new independent and international Scientific Committee and invites representatives of ICOMOS and ICCROM to participate in its meetings;

12. Further requests that the State Party continues to evaluate the causes of the problem and the different approaches for conservation and develop, on the basis of the priorities adopted by the International Scientific Committee, a detailed action plan with a timeframe for the next three years;

13. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2010, a report on the state of conservation of the property with respect to the points above and on progress made in the creation of the above-mentioned action plan, for the examination of the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010.

Final Decisions of the 33rd Session of the World Heritage Committee (Seville, 2009)
Context of Decision