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World Heritage Convention

Decision 19 COM VII.50-54
Report of the Working Group on Monitoring and Reporting

VII.50 The Working Group on monitoring and reporting was chaired by Mr Barry Jones (Australia). Mr Harald Plachter (Germany) served as the Rapporteur of this Working Group.

VII.51 The report of the Working Group was presented by its Chairperson to the Committee's plenary session on Friday, 8 December 1995. He informed the Committee that the Working Group recognized that the issue under consideration consists of two steps:

1. the monitoring by the states Parties of the state of their World Heritage sites;
2. the regular reporting on the state of these sites in accordance with the Convention.

VII.52 He furthermore "indicated that a small group of States Parties (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary and India) upon the proposal of the Delegate of Cyprus, had prepared a preliminary version of a draft resolution for the eleventh General Assembly. This text was discussed at length and amended accordingly, with important suggestions made by the Delegates of Hungary and Italy. A final draft was prepared for discussion at the plenary session of the Committee which read as follows:

The General Assembly,

1. Noting that the 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage has recognized that the cultural and natural heritage 'are increasingly threatened with destruction, not only by traditional causes of decay, but also by changing social and economic conditions which aggravate the situation with even more formidable phenomena of damage or destruction';

2. Reaffirms that 'deterioration or disappearance of any item of the cultural or natural heritage constitutes a harmful impoverishment of the heritage of all the nations of the world';

3. Considers that the Convention should be interpreted in the light of twenty-three years of experience in its implementation.

4. Considers that such interpretation recognizes the sovereign right of the state Party concerned over the World Heritage sites situated on its territory;

5. Considers that a well-reflected and formulated common policy for the protection of cultural and natural heritage is likely to create a continuing interaction between states Parties;

6. Emphasizes the interest of each state Party to be informed of the experience of others with regard to conservation methods and the possibilities so offered, through voluntary international cooperation, for the general improvement of all actions undertaken;

7. Reaffirms its role and the role of the World Heritage committee as standard setting organizations;

8. Concludes that monitoring is the responsibility of the state Party concerned and that the commitment to provide regular reports on the state of the site is consistent with the princip1es ser our in the Convention in

(i) the first, second, sixth, seventh and eighth preambular clauses,

(ii) Art. 4

(iii) Art. 6.1. and 6.2.

(iv) Art. 7

(v) Art. 10

(vi) Art. 11

(vii) Art. 13

(viii) Art. 15

(ix) Art. 21.3

(x) Art. 29;

9. Emphasizes that monitoring by the state Party is part of the site management which remains the responsibility of the states Parties where the site is located, and that regular reports may be submitted in accordance with Article 29 of the convention;

10. Recalls that Article 4 of the Convention provides that 'Each state Party .... recognizes that the duty of ensuring the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and transmission to future generations of the cultural and natural heritage . . . situated on its territory, belongs primarily to that state'.

11. Recalls that Article 6 lays down the concept of world heritage 'for whose protection it is the duty of the international community as a whole to co-operate' , and that Article 7 requires the establishment of a 'system of international cooperation' and assistance 'designed to support states Parties' efforts to conserve and identify that heritage.

12. Emphasizes that regular reporting should be part of a consultative process and not treated as a sanction or a coercive mechanism;

13. Notes that within the broad responsibility of the World Heritage Committee in standards setting, the form, nature and extent of the regular reporting must respect the principles of state sovereignty.

The involvement of the Committee, through its secretariat or advisory bodies, in the preparation of the regular reports would be with the agreement of the state Party concerned. The states Parties may request expert advice from the Secretariat or the advisory bodies. The Secretariat may also commission expert advice with the agreement of the states Parties.

14.  Suggests the General Conference of UNESCO to activate the procedures in Art. 29 of the Convention and to refer to the World Heritage Committee the responsibility to respond to the reports.

15. Encourages States Parties to take advantage of shared information and experience on World Heritage matters;

16. Invites other States to become states Parties to the Convention.

VII.53 The Committee adopted the draft resolution by acclamation and decided that the committee at its twentieth session should examine and adopt a report prepared by the Bureau for submission to the eleventh General Assembly of states Parties. The committee also decided to include it in its Report to the 29th session of the General Conference of UNESCO.

VII.54 As regards points A ('Revised nomination form'), B (Format for periodic World Heritage state of conservation reports'), C (Work plan for the implementation of regional monitoring programmes and the examination of regional synthesis reports by the World Heritage Committee') and D ('Progress report on the preparation of regional synthesis reports') of the agenda item, the Committee decided to defer its decision until the next session and invited the states Parties to comment in writing on the appropriate working documents on each point.

Decision Code
19 COM VII.50-54
Conservation, Working methods and tools
Report of the Rapporteur of the 19th session of the Committee