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World Heritage Convention

Decision 12 COM VII.12-19
Report of the Working Group Established by the Committee at its Eleventh Session

12. The Chairman of the Working Group, H.E. Ananda Guruge (Sri Lanka) presented the recommendations drafted by the Working Group. He stressed how important it was that the work of the Committee be facilitated through careful preparation and submittance of nominations of cultural properties by States Members, a more active Secretariat contribution when checking files, and a selective presentation of proposals by ICOMOS and by the Bureau. He also noted the progress that could be achieved through a reorganization of the Committee's agenda. The Chairman of the Working Group clarified that these recommendations had, in part, guided the revision of the Operational Guidelines.

Furthermore, he presented the Group's recommendation concerning a global study which might include an international tentative list of references designed to assist the States Parties in identifying their properties and the Committee in evaluating nominations. Finally, the attention of the Committee was drawn to the recommendation of complementary studies of rural landscapes, traditional villages and contemporary architecture.

13. Several members made a point of congratulating the Working Group on the results achieved. The Committee approved the Working Group's recommendations. However, several questions arose with respect to items 4.7 and 4.8 of the Working Group's report (study and global reference list, thematic studies of several categories of properties). The Chairman of the Committee recalled that the Bureau had requested ICOMOS to state its views on these points and invited the representative of this organisation to comment.

14. The proposal presented by the representative of ICOMOS would define the principles of a retrospective and prospective global reflection on the Convention. Within the framework of such a reflection ICOMOS would like to satisfy the wish of the Working Group with a view to establishing lists of examples of cultural properties of countries throughout the world, whether or not they were Parties to the Convention. Research to this effect would allow the identification of entities according to different parameters of coherence - chronological, geographical, ecological, functional, social, religious, etc.

15. The representative of IUCN also stated his views on the global list. He reminded the Committee that in 1982 IUCN had already established a list of this type and referred to its current shortcomings. This list was to be revised in the near future and, in his opinion, was a highly useful working tool. On the other hand, he suggested that an a posteriori review of results achieved during the first twenty years of implementation of the Convention and a projection thereof over the coming twenty years be made in 1992 for cultural properties. Indeed, in 1992 IUCN would be organizing the Fourth World Parks Congress at which it was planned to hold a special session marking the twentieth year of the World Heritage Convention.

16. The repesentative of ICCROM shared the views expressed by the Working Group and ICOMOS as regards a global study. He stressed that cooperation between ICCROM and ICOMOS would be most useful, since this concerned matters of mutual interest. He further stressed the need to conceive an evolutive list which, in particular, should take into account recent progress in the field of conservation doctrines.

17. A member of the Committee raised the question of the budgetary implications of preparing a global list. Another member suggested that it would be possible to call upon ICOMOS experts and the historical monuments services of each country

18. As regards tentative lists, several Committee members noted that these were highly useful instruments and a significant basis for the global survey. A member stressed that tentative lists were of great importance in the context of natural properties as well, since they allowed comparative studies. On the subject of specific studies of rural landscapes, traditional villages and contemporary architecture, a member stated that no deadlines had been set and that it would be proper to define their general outline. The representative of ICOMOS suggested that such studies might be integrated into the global study. Two Committee members voiced their doubts as to the need for a global study and specific surveys. It was therefore suggested that an informal group co-ordinated by the Chairman of the Working Group (Mr. A. Guruge) further examine this matter.

19. This Working Group met twice. Besides already existing documentation, it considered a short reflection note prepared by Mr. J.S. Collinson. Discussions highlighted the need to define a framework and principles prior to any further study, whether for the "global" study or thematic surveys of traditional villages, rural landscapes and contemporary architecture. The Working Group requested that the Secretariat and ICOMOS examine these questions in depth over the coming months and submit a more elaborate proposal to the Bureau in June 1989. Meanwhile, it proposed to include in the 1989 budget an amount of US$20,000 for the purpose of the global study and the thematic studies. The release of these funds would be considered by the Bureau. The Committee agreed to this proposal.

Decision Code
12 COM VII.12-19
Credibility of the World Heritage List, Inscriptions on the World Heritage List, Operational Guidelines, Reports, Tentative Lists, Working methods and tools
Report of the World Heritage Committee
Context of Decision