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Decision 36 COM 13.I
Revision of the Operational Guidelines

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC-12/36.COM/13, WHC-12/36.COM/9A, WHC-12/36.COM/12A and WHC-12/36.COM/14,
  2. Recalling Decision 35 COM 13 adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011) to “establish an open-ended working group on the Operational Guidelines at the 36th session of the World Heritage Committee in 2012 to consider the proposals made by Jordan on paragraph 68 and reflect on other elements of the Operational Guidelines as may be proposed by other States Parties”,
  3. Recognizes the value of the proposal presented by Jordan aimed at replacing the text of paragraph 68 of the Operational Guidelines, however considers that no change to the text of paragraph 68 is necessary at this stage;
  4. Thanks the State Party of the United Arab Emirates for hosting the International World Heritage Expert Meeting on Integrity for Cultural Heritage (Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, 12-14 March 2012) in cooperation with the World Heritage Centre, takes note of the recommendations of this meeting as a basis to continue working on this issue, recognizes the need for clearer guidance on the issue of integrity and requests that the World Heritage Centre, in consultation with the Advisory Bodies and States Parties, proposes a revision of paragraph 89 based on the findings of the experts meeting, to be presented for consideration at the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee;
  5. Also thanks the Government of Poland for organizing the International World Heritage Expert Meeting on Criterion (vi) and Associated Values (Warsaw, Poland, 28-30 March 2012), notes the recommendations of that meeting and their contribution to the assessment of integrity of associative values which should be taken into consideration in the revision to paragraph 89, and also notes the need for thematic studies on certain types of sites with associative values, such as sacred sites and those associated with the heritage of science;
  6. Recommends that supplementary guidance to the Operational Guidelines on the subjects of the above-mentioned meetings, and particularly on defining the conditions of integrity and authenticity for cultural sites, should also be provided in appropriate volumes of the Resource Manuals and other publications or training materials;
  7. Takes note of the need to include in Chapter III.A (Preparation of Nominations) a reference to the desirability of preparatory work before beginning work on a nomination dossier, and adopts a revision of Paragraph 122 as indicated in Annex 1;
  8. Also takes note of the revisions proposed on International Assistance in working document WHC-12/36.COM/14 and approves the following revisions of the  Operational Guidelines for paragraphs 210, 235, 238, 240, 241, 252 and 254 as proposed in Annex 2;
  9. Also requests the World Heritage Centre to proceed with the corrections of language consistency between the English and French versions of the Operational Guidelines, notably in paragraph 162 (d) to correct the French to read “d) Si les Organisations consultatives compétentes déterminent que le bien répond incontestablement aux critères d’inscription et que les exigences (voir a) ci-dessus) sont satisfaites, l’examen de la proposition d’inscription sera ajouté à l’ordre du jour de la prochaine session du Comité” while the English remains unchanged; and to adapt the French title of Annex 2B to read “Formulaire pour la soumission d’une liste indicative pour les futures propositions d’inscription transfrontalières et transnationales en série”;

10. Further requests the World Heritage Centre, in collaboration with the Advisory Bodies to:

a)  Propose a revision to paragraph 115 of the Operational Guidelines to confirm the degree to which management systems and legal frameworks need to be in place before inscription,

b)  Review paragraph 150 to ensure that the World Heritage Committee and States Parties concerned are informed of the process and status of factual errors letters including their upload on the web-page of the World Heritage Centre,

c)  Elaborate further proposals on options concerning deferral and referral, as well as on the process and timelines for emergency nominations presented under paragraphs 161-162, and to submit the findings and recommendations for examination at the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee,

d)  Make proposals on the methodology for revisions to the Operational Guidelines for the next cycle;

11. Finally requests, in order to ensure the most effective implementation of the World Heritage Convention, that the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies continue their reflections on clarifying the links between the different documents and their scope that have been elaborated for the implementation of the Convention. 

Annex 1

New Paragraph 122

Before States Parties begin to prepare a nomination of a property for inscription on the World Heritage List, they should become familiar with the nomination cycle, described in Paragraph 168. It is desirable to carry out initial preparatory work to establish that a property has the potential to justify Outstanding Universal Value, including integrity or authenticity, before the development of a full nomination dossier which could be expensive and time-consuming.  Such preparatory work might include collection of available information on the property, thematic studies, scoping studies of the potential for demonstrating Outstanding Universal Value, including integrity or authenticity, or an initial comparative study of the property in its wider global or regional context, including an analysis in the context of the Gap Studies produced by the Advisory Bodies.  Such work will help to establish the feasibility of a possible nomination at an early stage and avoid use of resources on nominations that may be unlikely to succeed. States Parties are invited to contact the Advisory Bodies and the World Heritage Centre at the earliest opportunity in considering nominations to seek information and guidance.

Annex 2

New Paragraph 210

The Committee requested the Secretariat with the Advisory Bodies, in consultation with the relevant States Parties, to develop long-term follow-up Regional Programmes structured according to its Strategic Objectives and to submit them for its examination. These Programmes are adopted as follow up to Periodic Reports and regularly reviewed by the Committee based on the needs of States Parties identified in Periodic Reports. These They should accurately reflect the needs of World Heritage in the Region and facilitate the granting of International Assistance. The Committee also expressed its support to ensure direct links between the Strategic Objectives and the International Assistance.

New Paragraph 235

The World Heritage Committee co-ordinates and allocates types of International Assistance in response to State Party requests. These types of International Assistance, described in the summary table set out below, in order of priority are:

a) Emergency assistance

b) Conservation and Management assistance (incorporating assistance for training and research, technical co-operation and promotion and education)

c)  Preparatory assistance.

 New Paragraph 238

To support its Strategic Objectives, the Committee also allocates International Assistance in conformity with the priorities set out by in its decisions and in the Regional Programmes it adopts as a follow up to Periodic Reports (see para. 210). These Programmes are adopted as a follow up to Periodic Reportsand regularly reviewed by the Committee based on the needs of States Parties identified in Periodic Reports (see chapter V).

 New Paragraph 240

A balance will be maintained in the allocation of resources for between cultural and natural heritage and between Conservation & Management and Preparatory Assistance. This balance is reviewed and decided upon on a regular basis by the Committee and during the last 3 months of each biennium by the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee.

New Paragraph 241

[Preparatory] assistance may be requested to (in order of priority):

(i) prepare or update national Tentative Lists of properties suitable for inscription on the World Heritage List; a commitment will be required from the State Party to nominate in priority on these lists sites recognized in approved thematic advice, such as the thematic studies prepared by the Advisory Bodies, as corresponding to gaps on the List;

(ii) organize meetings for the harmonization of national Tentative Lists within the same geo-cultural area;

(iii) prepare nominations of properties for inscription on the World Heritage List (this may include, including preparatory work such as collection of basic information, scoping studies of the potential for demonstration of Outstanding Universal Value, including integrity or authenticity, comparative studies of the property in relation to other similar properties (see 3.c2 of Annex 5), including analysis in the context of the Gap Studies produced by the Advisory Bodies. Priority will be given to requests for sites recognized in approved thematic advice as corresponding to gaps on the List and/or for sites where preliminary investigations have shown that further inquiries would be justified, especially in the case of States Parties whose heritage is un-represented or under-represented on the World Heritage List.

(iv)  prepare requests for Conservation & Management assistance for consideration by the World Heritage Committee for training and research assistance and for technical co-operation for World Heritage properties.

 New Paragraph 252

All requests for International Assistance of more than US$ 5,000, except those of Emergency Assistance up to and including US$ 75,000, are evaluated by a panel composed of representatives of the World Heritage Centre Regional Desks and the Advisory Bodies, and if possible the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee or one vice-chairperson, meeting at least once or twice a year before action by the Chairperson and/or Committee. Requests for the approval of the Chairperson can be submitted at anytime to the Secretariat and approved by the Chairperson after appropriate evaluation. Requests for Emergency Assistance of up to and including US$ 75,000 can be submitted at anytime to the Secretariat and will be submitted for approval by to the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee or to the Committee at its next session for decision after comments by the Advisory Bodies and without examination by the panel.

New Paragraph 254

All requests for Preparatory Assistance or Conservation and Management Assistance of more than US$ 5,000 for the approval of the Committee should be received by the Secretariat on or before 1 February 31 October. These requests are submitted to the Committee at its next session. Incomplete forms which do not come back duly completed by 30 November will be sent back to the States Parties for submission to a next cycle. Complete requests are examined by a first panel held in January during the meeting between the Secretariat and the Advisory Bodies. Requests for which the panel issues a positive or a negative recommendation will be submitted to the Chairperson/Committee for decision. A second panel may be held at least eight weeks before the Committee session for requests which were revised since the first panel. Requests sent back for a substantial revision will be examined by the panel depending on their date of receipt. Requests requiring only minor revision and no further examination by the panel must come back within the year when they were examined first; otherwise they will be sent again to a next panel. The chart detailing the submission process is attached in Annex 8.

Decision Code
36 COM 13.I
Operational Guidelines
Decisions adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012)
Context of Decision