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World Heritage Convention

Decision 19 COM X
Balanced Representation of Natural and Cultural Heritage on the World Heritage List

X.1 The Committee examined the working document prepared by the Secretariat and recalled paragraph 122 of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention reflecting previous 'discussions held at sessions of the Committee and its Bureau, which focused on:

- the concept of universal value and standards to be applied;
- the interpretation of universal value by the advisory bodies;
- the number of natural and cultural specialists present at sessions of the Committee and its Bureau;
- priorities for granting international assistance.

X.2 The Committee furthermore recalled that the question of balance relates also to the "Strategic Goals for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention" adopted by the sixteenth session of the Committee. It also recalled that at the same session the categories for cultural landscapes were adopted which are considered under the cultural criteria only.

The Committee, in the light of earlier discussions:

- invites states Parties to nominate types of sites presently under-represented on the World Heritage List;

- invites states Parties attending the World Heritage Committee and its Bureau to be represented by both cultural and natural heritage specialists;

- requests states Parties to communicate regularly to the Centre updated addresses of the national institutions primarily responsible for cultural and natural heritage;

- asks the World Heritage Centre to undertake efforts to strengthen the links to natural heritage institutions in states Parties to the Convention;

- requests the Centre to work on an overall global strategy for natural heritage in close cooperation with IUCN and ICOMOS;

- prior to the establishment of a post, by UNESCO, of at least one specialist for natural heritage in the World Heritage Centre and considering the importance of this field, the Committee requested the Chairperson to emphasize to the Director-General of UNESCO the need to strengthen cooperation between the Centre and the Division of Ecological Sciences;

- requests both advisory bodies to adhere to strict and harmonized evaluation procedures in order to ensure representivity of the World Heritage List for the diversity of the world's heritage;

- commends the French authorities for their efforts to host a small natural heritage specialists meeting on the "notion of integrity", and requested that this meeting reviews the Global Strategy for Natural Heritage and the question of a global indicative inventory.


Decision Code
19 COM X
Credibility of the World Heritage List
Report of the Rapporteur of the 19th session of the Committee
Context of Decision