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Decision 37 COM 12.II
Revision of the Operational Guidelines

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/12,

2.  Recalling Decisions 36 COM 13.I and 36 COM 13.II adopted at its 36th session (Saint Petersburg, 2012) and 35 COM 12B adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3.  Noting Decisions 7.COM 3 and 7.COM 6 adopted by the Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict at its seventh meeting in December 2012, and welcoming the reflections on the interaction between the World Heritage Convention and the Second Protocol (1999) to the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict;

4.  Requests the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to develop, in cooperation with the Secretariat of the Hague Convention (1954), a revision of Annex 5 of the Operational Guidelines (Format for the Nomination of Properties for Inscription on the World Heritage List) in order to allow Parties to the Second Protocol (1999) to request, if they wish so, the inscription of the nominated property on the List of Cultural Property under Enhanced Protection;

5.  Takes note of the recommendations of the International World Heritage Expert Meeting on Earthen Architecture and further requests the World Heritage Centre to prepare, in the framework of the World Heritage Earthen Architecture Programme (WHEAP), a draft text and review the best place in which such a proposal could be reflected (e.g. Resource Manuals, web-pages or Operational Guidelines );

6.  Notes the results of the International Expert Meeting on Visual Integrity (India, 2013) following the International Expert Meeting on Integrity for Cultural Heritage (UAE, 2012) and considers that further examination of proposed revisions may be brought to the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee after the expert meeting on the UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape and World Heritage (Brazil, September 2013), which should reflect upon the identification of urban heritage within the categories of the Convention and propose the appropriate revisions to the Operational Guidelines , together with the proposed revisions of the relevant section in Annex 3 to reflect the guidance required for the nomination, evaluation and management of urban heritage, for examination by the Committee when establishing the next cycle of revision of the Operational Guidelines ;

7.  Also notes the results of the International Expert Meeting on World Heritage Convention and Indigenous Peoples (Denmark, 2012) and decides to re-examine the recommendations of this meeting following the results of the discussions to be held by the Executive Board on the UNESCO Policy on indigenous peoples for further steps;

8.  Approves the revisions of the Operational Guidelines for these paragraphs: 127, 128, 132, 150, 161, 162 and 240 as follows:

Paragraph 150 of the Operational Guidelines

Letters from the concerned State ( s ) Part y( ies ) , submitted in the appropriate form in Annex 12, detailing the factual errors th at ey might have been identified in the evaluation of their nomination made by the Advisory Bodies, must be received by the Chairperson World Heritage Centre at least no later than 14 days before the opening of the session of the Committee with copies to the relevant Advisory Bod y( ies ) . Provided that the Chairperson, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Body, is satisfied that the letter deals only with factual errors and contains no advocacy, t T he letter s shall be distributed in the working languages to the members of the Committee and may be read out by the Chairperson  the presentation of the   evaluation made available as an annex to the documents for the relevant agenda item, and no later than the first day of the Committee session. If a letter contains both notification of factual errors and advocacy, only those parts of it dealing with factual errors shall be distributed. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies may add their comments to the letters, in the relevant section of the form, before they are made available.

Paragraph 161 of the Operational Guidelines

The normal timetable and definition of completeness for the submission and processing of nominations will not apply in the case of properties which in the opinion of the relevant Advisory Bodies, would unquestionably meet the criteria for inscription on the World Heritage List and which would be in Danger, as a result of having have suffered damage or face facing serious and specific dangers from natural events or human activities , which would constitute an emergency situation for which an immediate decision by the Committee is necessary to ensure their safeguarding, and which , according to the report of the relevant Advisory Bodies, may unquestionably justify Outstanding Universal Value.

Such nominations will be processed on an emergency basis and their examination is included in the agenda of the next Committee session. may be These properties may be inscribed simultaneously on the World Heritage List . They shall, in that case, be simultaneously inscribed and on the List of World Heritage in Danger (see paragraphs 177-191).

Paragraph 162 of the Operational Guidelines

The procedure for nominations to be processed on an emergency basis is as follows:

a)  A State Party presents a nomination with the request for processing on an emergency basis. The State Party shall have already included, or immediately include, the property on its Tentative List.

b)  The nomination shall:

i)   describe the property and identify precisely its boundaries the property ;

ii)  justify its Outstanding Universal Value according to the criteria;

iii)  justify its integrity and/or authenticity;

iv) describe its protection and management system;

v)  describe the nature of the emergency, including and the nature and extent of the damage or specific danger and showing that immediate action by the Committee is necessary to ensure the safeguarding for the survival of the property.

c)  The Secretariat immediately transmits the nomination to the relevant Advisory Bodies, requesting an assessment of the qualities of the property which may justify its Outstanding Universal Value, and of the nature of the danger and the urgency of a decision by the Committee . emergency, damage and/or danger . A field visit may be necessary if the relevant Advisory Bodies consider it appropriate and if the time allows ;

d)   If the relevant Advisory Bodies determine that the property unquestionably meets the criteria for inscription, and that the requirements (see a) above) are satisfied, the examination of the nomination will be added to the agenda of the next session of the Committee.

d e )  When reviewing the nomination the Committee will also consider:

i)   inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger;

ii) i) allocation of International Assistance  to complete the nomination; and

iii) ii) follow-up missions as necessary by the Secretariat and the relevant Advisory Bodies as soon as possible after inscription to fulfil the Committee’s recommendations.


Paragraph 240 of the Operational Guidelines

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


Paragraph 128 of the Operational Guidelines

Nominations may be submitted at any time during the year [original in bold], but only those nominations that are "complete" (see paragraph 132) and received by the Secretariat on or before 1 February 3 [original in bold] [ 3 If 1 February falls on a weekend, the nomination must be received by 17h00 GMT the preceding Friday.] will be considered for inscription on the World Heritage List by the World Heritage Committee during the following year. Only nominations of properties included in the State Party's Tentative List will be examined by the Committee (see paragraph s 63 and 65 ).


Paragraph 132 of the Operational Guidelines

For a nomination to be considered as "complete", the following requirements (see format in Annex 5) are to be met:

1. Identification of the Property

The boundaries of the property being proposed shall be clearly defined, unambiguously distinguishing between the nominated property and any buffer zone (when present) (see paragraphs 103-107). Maps shall be sufficiently detailed (see Explanatory Note of section 1.e in Annex 5) to determine precisely which area of land and/or water is nominated. Officially up-to-date published topographic maps of the State Party annotated to show the property boundaries and any buffer zone (when present) shall be provided if available in printed version. A nomination shall be considered "incomplete" if it does not include clearly defined boundaries.[…]

10. Number of printed copies required (including map annexed)

- Nominations of cultural properties (excluding cultural landscapes): 2 identical copies

- Nominations of natural properties and cultural landscapes: 3 identical copies

- Nominations of mixed properties: 4 identical copies

Explanatory Notes of Annex 5

1.e Maps and plans, showing the boundaries of the nominated property and buffer zone [original in bold]

Annex to the nomination, and list below with scales and dates:

(i) An o O riginal cop y ies of a topographic map s showing the property nominated, at the largest scale available which show s the entire property. The boundaries of the nominated property and buffer zone should be clearly marked . Either on this map, or on an accompanying one, there should also be a record of t The boundaries of zones of special legal protection from which the property benefits should be recorded on maps to be included under the protection and management section of the nomination text . Multiple maps may be necessary for serial nominations (see table in 1.d). The maps provided should be at the largest available and practical scale to allow the identification of topographic elements such as neighbouring settlements, buildings and routes in order to allow the clear assessment of the impact of any proposed development within, adjacent to, or on the boundary line. The choice of the adequate scale is essential to clearly show the boundaries of the proposed site and shall be in relation to the category of site that is proposed for inscription: cultural sites would require cadastral maps, while natural sites or cultural landscapes would require topographic maps (normally 1:25 000 to 1:50 000 scale).

Utmost care is needed with the width of boundary lines on maps, as thick boundary lines may make the actual boundary of the property ambiguous.

Maps may be obtained from the addresses shown at the following Web address https://whc.unesco.org/en/mapagencies.

If topographic maps are not available at the appropriate scale other maps may be substituted. All maps should be capable of being geo-referenced, with a minimum of three points on opposite sides of the maps with complete sets of coordinates. The maps, untrimmed, should show scale, orientation, projection, datum, property name and date. If possible, maps should be sent rolled and not folded.

Geographic Information in digital form is encouraged if possible, suitable for incorporation into a GIS (Geographic Information System), however this may not substitute the submission of printed maps. In this case the delineation of the boundaries (nominated property and buffer zone) should be presented in vector form, prepared at the largest scale possible.  The State Party is invited to contact the Secretariat for further information concerning this option. […]

Paragraph 127 of the Operational Guidelines

States Parties may submit draft nominations to the Secretariat for comment and review at any time during the year. However States Parties are strongly encouraged to transmit to the Secretariat by 30 September [original in bold] of each the preceding year (see paragraph 168) the draft nominations that they wish to submit by the 1 February deadline . This submission of a draft nomination is voluntary should include maps showing the boundaries for the proposed site. Draft nominations could be submitted either in electronic format or in printed version (only in 1 copy without annexes except for maps). In both cases they should be accompanied by a cover letter.

9.  Decides not to approve the changes proposed for paragraphs 61, 141 and 168;

10. Further requests the World Heritage Centre to proceed with the corrections of language inconsistencies between the English and French versions of the Operational Guidelines .

Decision Code
37 COM 12.II
Operational Guidelines, Outstanding Universal Value, World Heritage Convention
Decisions Adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 37th Session (Phnom Penh, 2013)
Context of Decision