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World Heritage Convention

Resolution 12 GA 5-8
Opening of the General Assembly by the Director-General or his representative

5. In his opening address, the representative of the Director-General, Mr Crespo-Toral, Assistant Director-General for Culture, spoke of the incontestable success of the Convention which has been ratified by 157 States, and the World Heritage List which now includes 582 cultural and natural properties. He stressed the fact that the List does not yet include all the categories of properties, notably living traditions and modes of land-use – which determine the material and spiritual life of human groups and their relationships with their environment. He also evoked the categories of properties still under-represented on the List as, for example the cultural landscapes and routes.

6. He stressed the importance of item 8 of the agenda concerning the “Ways and means to ensure a representative World Heritage List” and suggested that the Convention was possibly a victim of its success. He emphasised the growing number of nominations and the concerns of the advisory bodies in this regard.

 The advisory bodies have often expressed their concerns in view of the growing number of nominations. They feel that the current rate of new nominations:


  • threaten the credibility of the List,
  • require the availability of additional financial and human resources that could weigh on the already modest World Heritage funds,
  • will result, for lack of time, in a reduction of the activities that should be devoted to conservation reports, strategic planning, thematic studies, and the strengthening of existing capacities,
  • create difficulties in managing the timetable of the meetings of the Bureau and the World Heritage Committee, and also that the prolongation of the sessions will lead to additional financial outlay.

7. The Assistant-Director-General for Culture observed the imbalance in the List had deteriorated since 1994, in spite of the efforts of the Committee and the Secretariat, and the adoption of the Global Strategy by the Committee at its eighteenth session, because many States do not have the necessary conservation infrastructure that would allow them to prepare nominations at a sufficiently sustained rhythm to improve the representativity of the List.

8. Considering that the 1972 Convention main characteristic is to be an instrument for international co-operation, he requested the General Assembly to examine and approve the draft resolution presented under item 8 of the agenda, so that in the future the List will not only be associated with limited categories of properties mainly situated in States with a solid conservation record to the exclusion of those States which devote an important part of their resources to health, education and the fight against poverty. He stated that it behoved the General Assembly to take a historical decision in this regard.
Summary Record of the 12th General Assembly of States Parties