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World Heritage Convention

Decision 38 COM 5F.2
Follow-up to the Audit of the Working Methods of Cultural Conventions and to the Evaluation of UNESCO’s Standard-Setting work of the Culture Sector

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/5F as well as the “Evaluation of UNESCO’s Standard-setting work of the Culture Sector: Part III – 1972 Convention,
  2. Noting that the present evaluation constitues the first such evaluation of the impact and effectiveness of the World Heritage Convention of 1972,
  3. Welcomes the findings of the evaluation and the recommendations offered therein;
  4. Takes note that the current periodic mechanism already includes a number of indicators and considers that Recommendation 1, with regard both to the World Heritage Convention of 1972 and the Recommendation concerning the Protection, at National Level, of the Cultural and Natural Heritage, should be addressed in the framework of the reflection period regarding the implementation modalities of the Periodic reporting exercise, to be launched after the end of the second cycle of Periodic reporting in 2015, thus building on existing mechanisms, avoiding overlap of reporting mechanisms and ensuring greater efficiency;
  5. Also takes note, with regard to Recommendation 2, that the Operational Guidelines include a provision (paragraph 172) aiming to prevent negative impact of development projects on the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage properties, through a recommendation to States Parties to inform the World Heritage Committee about such projects, and that no distinction between national and international investment projects is made;
  6. Calls upon States Parties, with a view to fully satisfy Recommendation 2, to introduce or reinforce existing mechanisms for evaluation of the impact of investment projects, both national and international, on cultural and natural heritage in general, and on World Heritage properties, in particular, and recommends that in this regard they make sustained use of all tools and guidance already developed by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;
  7. Further takes note of Recommendation 3 and decides to seek technical and legal advice regarding resolution of legal disputes pertaining to the meaning of certain provisions of the Convention and about the scope of obligations arising thereunder, on an ad hoc basis, as cases arise;
  8. Recognizes that the proposals contained in Recommendation 4 are already being addressed by the Secretariat of the Convention of 1972 and the other cultural conventions secretariats, through the creation of Common Conventions Services Unit and that a process of harmonizing the working methods of the conventions is under way, through the Cultural Conventions Liaison Group (CCLG) and takes note that this is work in progress by the Secretariat towards complying with Recommendation 4;
  9. Urges the States Parties to the Convention, in view of complying with Recommendation 4, to enhance coherence in the development of the legal tools that are necessary to make protection of heritage under the relevant UNESCO Standard-setting instruments, effective in their national laws and policies and requests the Secretariat to provide support and assistance to States Parties in this regard, where requested and appropriate;
  10. Further takes note of Decision 194 EX/22 (paragraph 6) by the Executive Board of UNESCO concerning actions to be taken towards implementation of the recommendations of the evaluation of UNESCO’s Standard-setting work of the Culture Sector.
Decision Code
38 COM 5F.2
Administration, Budget, Working methods and tools, World Heritage Convention
Report of the Decisions adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session (Doha, 2014)
Context of Decision