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Decision 4 COM VI.18-20
Consideration of item 7 of the agenda : The revised text of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention

18.  The Committee reiterated the importance of the Operational Guidelines and emphasized that every measure should be taken to ensure that the resulting guidelines are the best possible and that they reflect the thorough deliberations which precede each decision taken by the Committee. The insertion in the introduction of a brief paragraph to this effect was recommended by the Committee. 

19. The Committee then discussed in detail the Revised Operational Guidelines and made the following modifications:

a) Chapter I, section A, paragraph 5 (ii) should read :

Because of the educational and public information purposes of the World Heritage List, the criteria for the inclusion of properties in the List have been elaborated with a view to enabling the Committee to act with full independence in evaluating the intrinsic merit of a property without regard to any other consideration (including the need for technical co-operation support).

b) Chapter I, section A, paragraph (iii) should read :

The Committee considers it highly desirable for each State Party to submit a tentative list of cultural and natural properties situated in its territory and suitable for inclusion in the World Heritage List to enable it to evaluate within the widest possible context the outstanding universal value of each property nominated to the List.

c) In order to facilitate the implementation of the provision set out in Chapter I, section A, paragraph 5 (vi), ICOMOS and IUCN were invited to present in their future evaluations a brief description of the principal characteristics for which a specific property is recommended for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

d) Chapter I, section B, paragraph 6, second line, the word "provisional" is to be replaced by the word "tentative".

e) Chapter I, section B, paragraph 13 should read :

States Parties may propose in a single nomination a series of cultural properties in different geographical locations, provided that they are related because they belong :

(i) to the same historico-cultural group or

(ii) to the same type of property which is characteristic of the geographical zone and provided that it is the series as such and not its components taken individually, which is of outstanding universal value.

f) Chapter I, section C, paragraph 16 should be amended as follows

The criteria for the inclusion of cultural properties in, the World Heritage List should always be seen in relation to one another and should be considered in the context of the definitions set out in Article 1 of the Convention, the full text of which will be inserted at the beginning of this paragraph.

g) Chapter I, section C, paragraph 16 (a) (vi) : the following should be added :

The Committee considered that criterion (vi) should justify inclusion in the List only in exceptional circumstances or in conjunction with other criteria.

h) In Chapter I, section C, paragraph 16, a sentence will be inserted in order to stress that reconstruction is only acceptable if it is carried out on the basis of complete and detailed documentation on the original and to no extent on conjecture.

i) Chapter I, section C, paragraph 17 (a) should read :

The property, including its state of preservation should be evaluated relatively, that is, it should be compared with other properties of the same type dating from the same period both inside and outside the state party's borders.

j) In Chapter I, section D, paragraph 18, the full text of the definition set out in Article 2 of the Convention will be quoted at the beginning of this paragraph.

k) Chapter I, section D, paragraph 18 (i) should read :

be outstanding examples representing the major stages of the earth's evolutionary history.

l) Chapter I, section D, paragraph 18 (ii) should read :

be outstanding examples representing significant ongoing geological processes, biological evolution and man's interaction with his natural environment. As distinct from the periods of the earth's development, this focuses upon ongoing processes in the development of communities of plants and animals, landforms and marine and freshwater bodies.

m) Chapter I, section D, paragraph 18 (iii) should read :

contain superlative natural phenomena, formations or features or areas of exceptional natural beauty, such as superlative examples of the most important ecosystems, natural features, spectacles presented by great concentra- tions of animals, sweeping vistas covered by natural vegetation and exceptional combinations of natural and cultural elements, or

n) Chapter I, section D, paragraph 18 (iv) should read :

contain the most important and significant natural habitats where threatened species of animals or plants of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation still survive.

o) Chapter I, section B, paragraph 19, sub-section (a) (v) should read :

In the case of migratory species, seasonal sites necessary for their survival wherever they are located, should be adequately protected. The Committee must receive assurances that the necessary measures be taken to ensure that the species are adequately protected throughout their full life cycle. Agreements made in this connection, either through adherence to international conventions or in the form of other multilateral or bilateral arrangements would provide this assurance.

p) A new sub-section (b) should read :

The property should be evaluated relatively, that is, it should be compared with other properties of the same type both inside and outside the state party's borders, within a biogeographic province or migratory pattern.

q) Chapter I, section F, paragraph 29 (iv) should read : State of preservation/conservation - Diagnosis - Agent responsible for preservation/conservation - History of preservation/conservation - Measures for preservation/conservation (including management plans or proposals for such plans) - Development plans for the region.

r) Chapter I, section F, paragraph 30 should read :

Each nomination should be accompanied by a two-page summary which will be translated and reproduced by the Secretariat for distribution to members of the Bureau and the Committee.

s) Chapter I, section G, paragraph 31, 2) (b) should read :

undertakes a professional evaluation of each nomination in terms of the criteria adopted by the Committee and transmits their evaluation to members of the Bureau of the Committee, to the States Parties to the Convention which are concerned and to the Secretariat ;

t) Chapter I, section G, paragraph 31, (June-July), should read :

The summaries of nominations and the recommendations of the Bureau are transmitted to all States Parties to the Convention.

u) Chapter I, section G, paragraph 32 should read :

The normal deadlines for the submission and processing of nominations will not apply in the case of properties which, in the opinion of the Bureau after consultation with the competent non-governmental organization, would unquestionably meet the criteria for inclusion in the World Heritage List ] and which have suffered damage from disasters caused by natural events or by human activities. Such nominations will be processed on an emergency basis.

20. Working procedures for the evaluation and presentation of nominated properties were discussed throughout the session and a general agreement concerning the content of such procedures was reached. The following text setting out these procedures was proposed :

The following working procedures should apply to evaluations of proposed nominations and their presentation to and discussion by the Committee :

(i) representatives of a State Party, whether or not a member of the Committee, should not speak to advocate the inclusion in the list of a property situated within the territory of that State except to deal with a point of information in answer to a question ;

(ii) the manner of the professional evaluation carried out by ICOMOS and IUCN should he fully described in all instances ;

(iii) each property should be compared with properties of a similar type or dating from the same period inside and outside the State Party's boundaries, and a comparative justification should be given for its proposed inclusion in the List ;

(iv) it is desirable that wherever possible the professional presentation of the nominated property should include a slide presentation or other graphic presentation. (This is not only useful for making decisions, it also serves an important educational function for members of the Committee since they share responsibility for the propagation of information about properties included in the List).

The Committee asked that the Bureau should examine at its next session these proposals with a view to their incorporation into a forthcoming revision of the Operational Guidelines.

Decision Code
4 COM VI.18-20
Operational Guidelines
Report of the Rapporteur on the fourth session of the World Heritage Committee