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Decision 39 COM 7
State of Conservation of World Heritage Properties

The World Heritage Committee,
  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014), and the Bonn Declaration on World Heritage adopted on 29 June 2015,
Conflict situation in the Arab States Region
  1. Deplores the conflict situation prevailing in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, the loss of human life as well as the degradation of humanitarian conditions and expresses its utmost concern at the damage sustained and the threats facing these properties and cultural heritage in general;
  2. Urges all parties associated with conflicts to refrain from any action that would cause further damage to cultural heritage and to fulfil their obligations under international law by taking all possible measures to protect such heritage, in particular the safeguarding of World Heritage properties and the sites included in the Tentative List;
  3. Also urges the States Parties to adopt measures for the evacuation of World Heritage properties being used for military purposes;
  4. Launches an appeal to all Member States of UNESCO to cooperate in combatting the illicit trafficking of cultural heritage, in particular coming from Syria and Iraq as per the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2199 of February 2015;
  5. Recommends that the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies develop a post-conflict strategy, including means to extend support for reconstruction of damaged World Heritage properties through technical assistance, capacity-building, and exchange of best practices taking into account the conclusions made by the two seminars recently held by World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS on this subject;
Emerging and recurring conservation issues
  1. Takes note of the increasing number of State of Conservation reports due to inadequate management systems or plans and urges States Parties to ensure that management systems and plans are in place at the time of inscription;
  2. Notes with utmost concern, the continuously increasing pressure associated with and the growing impacts from poaching on the Outstanding Universal Value of many natural World Heritage properties and the increasing involvement of organized crime, and reiterates its call for strong international collaboration and coordination inter alia with the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and with the full engagement of transit and destination countries to control the illicit trade in wildlife and its products;
  3. Notes with concern the significant threat posed by invasive species to natural World Heritage properties, strongly encourages States Parties to develop adequately resourced strategies to eradicate invasive species in World Heritage properties and prevent their (re-)introduction and/or establishment, and also calls on the international community to support invasive species eradication campaigns in affected properties;
  4. Taking note of the benefits to States Parties of systematically utilizing Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs) and Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) in the review of development projects, encourages States Parties to integrate the EIA/HIA processes into legislation, planning mechanisms and management plans, and reiterates its recommendation to States Parties to use these tools in assessing projects, including assessment of cumulative impacts, as early as possible and before any final decision is taken, and, taking into account the need for capacity-building in this regard, requests the States Parties to contribute financially and technically towards the development of further guidance regarding EIA/HIA implementation, by the Advisory Bodies and the World Heritage Centre, based on case studies and field experience;
  5. Acknowledging that World Heritage properties are being increasingly affected by Climate Change, also strongly encourages States Parties to participate in the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 2015, with a view to achieving a universal climate agreement and mobilize global climate action on the ground, and recalls its Decision 31 COM 7.1, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007) in which it adopted a carbon neutral policy, in view of its application for all future sessions, to the extent feasible;
  6. Appreciates the constructive dialogue, which has taken place between the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, and also requests that this dialogue be extended to the other Advisory Bodies to ensure that cultural aspects are also taken into account in the future;
Knowledge management of the state of conservation reports 
  1. Urges States Parties to submit to the Committee through the Secretariat, by the statutory deadline set and in one of the working languages of the World Heritage Convention (English or French), their reports on the state of conservation of specific properties (Paragraph 169 of the Operational Guidelines), in order to allow for sufficient time for consultation and informed decision making at the Committee sessions;
  2. Adopts the revised format below for the submission of state of conservation reports by the States Parties, decides that this revised format is compulsory and applies with immediate effect, and that it should be included in the Operational Guidelines, and reminds States Parties that these reports must be submitted in one of the working languages of the Convention (English or French):
Name of World Heritage property (State(s) Party(ies)) (Identification number)
  1. Executive Summary of the report
    [Note: each of the sections described below should be summarized. The maximum length of the executive summary is 1 page.]
  2. Response to the Decision of the World Heritage Committee
    [Note: State(s) Party(ies) are requested to address the most recent Decision of the World Heritage Committee for this property, paragraph by paragraph.]
    If the property is inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
    Please also provide detailed information on the following:
    1. Progress achieved in implementing the corrective measures adopted by the World Heritage Committee
      [Note: please address each corrective measure individually, providing factual information, including exact dates, figures, etc.]
      If needed, please describe the success factors or difficulties in implementing each of the corrective measures identified
    2. Is the timeframe for implementing the corrective measures suitable? If not, please propose an alternative timeframe and an explanation why this alternative timeframe is required.
    3. Progress achieved towards the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR)
  3. Other current conservation issues identified by the State(s) Party(ies) which may have an impact on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value
    [Note: this includes conservation issues which are not mentioned in the Decision of the World Heritage Committee or in any information request from the World Heritage Centre]
  4. In conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, describe any potential major restorations, alterations and/or new construction(s) intended within the property, the buffer zone(s) and/or corridors or other areas, where such developments may affect the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, including authenticity and integrity.
  5. Public access to the state of conservation report
    [Note: this report will be uploaded for public access on the World Heritage Centre’s State of conservation Information System (https://whc.unesco.org/en/soc). Should your State Party request that the full report should not be uploaded, only the 1-page executive summary provided in point (1.) above will be uploaded for public access].
  6. Signature of the Authority
  1. Notes with appreciation the high number of States Parties which have authorized the public upload of their state of conservation reports, facilitating their consultation by all stakeholders of the Convention and contributing to an improved transparency of the reactive monitoring process, and reiterates its encouragement to all States Parties to continue do so in the future.
Decision Code
39 COM 7
Themes
Conservation
Year
2015
Documents
WHC-15/39.COM/19
Decisions adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015)
Context of Decision
WHC-15/39.COM/7
WHC-15/39.COM/7A
WHC-15/39.COM/7A.Add
WHC-15/39.COM/7B
WHC-15/39.COM/7B.Add
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