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Decision 23 COM VII.1-8
Follow-up to the Work of the Consultative Body of the World Heritage Committee

VII.1 The Chairperson introduced item 7 and recalled the origin of the creation of this consultative body (twentieth session of the Committee, December 1996, Merida, Mexico). He informed the delegates of the relevant documents and requested the Director of the Centre to present the item.

VII.2 The Director of the Centre took the floor and described the content of the Working Document and summarized the decisions to be taken that he proposed for submission to the Committee. The decision concerning the technical questions, amended by Benin, were adopted as follows:

The Committee requested that the World Heritage Centre and the advisory bodies continue to take into consideration the work of the Consultative Body on technical questions (application of cultural criteria (i) and (vi), examination of authenticity, imbalance of the World Heritage List and the implementation of the Global Strategy) in particular with regard to the implementation of the Global Strategy, the resolution of the General Assembly concerning the ways and means to ensure a representative World Heritage List, and the meetings on the Rationalisation of Operational Guidelines which should be held in the United Kingdom in April 2000 and the meeting on Integrity/Authenticity in the African context which should be held in Africa in May 2000.

VII.3 Following the adoption of the above, several members of the Committee intervened to request that discussion on this item of the agenda be conducted in a global manner as the different elements submitted for discussion are closely linked. Some delegates requested that a special working group be rapidly formed so that it may submit concrete proposals to this Committee session.

VII.4 Canada, supported by several delegations, of which Belgium - who proposed themes to be studied by this special working group - Australia, France and the United Kingdom suggested that the working group concentrate first of all on the finalisation of the work of the Consultative Body, created in 1996 by the Committee. The Delegate of Canada also proposed that the special working group should not discuss the subject of representativity of the List, which should be studied within the context of the Global Strategy. This proposal was endorsed by the delegates.

VII.5 With regard to the composition of the small working group, delegates indicated that it should be geographically representative of States Parties to the Convention whilst being limited in number. It was also suggested that the advisory bodies to the Convention be represented.

VII.6 At the end of the debate that discussed many aspects of the terms of reference of the working group, the Chairperson of the Committee suggested the following composition of the group that would meet at the end of the plenary session and would submit a draft decision on detailed terms of reference of the future task force to the Committee: Canada (Chairperson), Australia, Belgium, Hungary, Mexico, Morocco, South Africa and Thailand, and the advisory bodies (ICOMOS, IUCN and ICCROM). The Secretariat was provided by the World Heritage Centre. The Committee suggested that the working group should discuss the following items, among others: the working methods of the Committee and its Bureau; proliferation of the statutory meetings; the role of the advisory bodies; the calendar of nominations; the human and financial resources of the World Heritage Centre.

VII.7 These proposals were approved by the Committee and the Chairperson requested that the working group submit its deliberations to the Committee on Thursday, 2 December during the afternoon session. The Chairperson proposed that delegations wishing to contribute to the working group provide their proposals to the Chairperson or their representatives in the Task Force.

VII.8 The working group met twice and formulated a proposal for the terms of reference of the task force. These were submitted to the Committee and, after discussions were amended and approved. During the debate, delegates pointed out the need to keep the composition of the task force open to States Parties wishing to contribute to its work. The approved terms of reference are the following:


At the request of the World Heritage Committee, a working group chaired by Canada submits to the Committee proposals relating to the composition and terms of reference of a Task Force aimed at improving the implementation of the World Heritage Convention.

Composition of the Task Force: The same as the working group established by the Committee in Marrakesh 1999, chaired by Canada and including Australia, Belgium, Hungary, Morocco, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, and the advisory bodies (ICOMOS, ICCROM and IUCN) and a representative of the World Heritage Centre. Australia agreed to act as rapporteur.

Terms of reference of the Task Force: To identify and propose for consideration of the Bureau in June 2000 priority practical measures for more effective operation of the Convention, taking account of pressures affecting the Convention over the coming years. Those measures, some of which should be applicable in preparation of and during the Committee meeting of December 2000, will focus on:

  • The organization and running of the statutory meetings,
  • The procedures for decision making,
  • The information and documentation management,
  • The Operational Guidelines.

The Task Force will take into account and further build upon all discussions in previous General Assembly, Committee and Bureau meetings (see WHC-99/CONF.209/9), the management review and financial audit, and proposals made by State Parties.

Working methods: The Task Force will operate in a way that maximizes the opportunity for State Party input. A concise draft paper will be circulated by March 2000 and comments will be sought by fax and email. The draft paper will be posted on the UNESCO homepage.

Possible further developments: After having considered the proposals of the Task Force, the Bureau, at its meeting of June 2000, will recommend for Committee consideration a possible new working group to reflect in depth on the objectives and fundamental priorities in implementing the Convention.

Decision Code
23 COM VII.1-8
Credibility of the World Heritage List, Operational Guidelines, Working methods and tools, World Heritage Convention
Report of the rapporteur
Context of Decision