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World Heritage Convention

Decision 42 COM 14
Presentation of the final accounts of the World Heritage Fund for 2016-2017, implementation of the World Heritage Fund under the biennium 2018-2019 and follow-up to Decision 41 COM 14

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC/18/42.COM/12A and WHC/18/42.COM/14,
  2. Recalling Decisions 39 COM 15, 40 COM 15 and 41 COM 14, which highlight the priority that should be given to conservation and management of World Heritage properties, takes note of the efforts made and progress achieved in this regard by increasing the proportion of the World Heritage Fund dedicated to conservation for the latest biennia and encourages further increase of this proportion, as appropriate;

    Part I: Presentation of the final accounts of the World Heritage Fund for 2016-2017, implementation of the World Heritage Fund under the biennium 2018-2019

  3. Also takes note of the financial report for the biennium, which ended 31 December 2017;

    Arrears and contributions

  4. Recalls that the payment of compulsory and assessed voluntary contributions is, as per Article 16 of the World Heritage Convention, an obligation incumbent on all States Parties which have ratified the Convention and calls upon all States Parties, which have not yet paid the totality of their assessed contributions for 2018, including voluntary contributions in accordance with Article 16.2 of the Convention, to ensure that their contributions are paid at their earliest convenience;
  5. Thanks those States Parties which have already made supplementary voluntary contributions in 2018 and also calls upon all other States Parties to commit to consider allocating supplementary voluntary contributions to the World Heritage Fund in line with the Roadmap for the Sustainability of the World Heritage Fund with the target of 10 or more States Parties doubling their annual contributions;
  6. Notes with appreciation the supplementary costs covered by the Bahraini authorities as host of the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee in addition to those listed in the Statement of Requirements;
  7. Further takes note of the follow-up to the online consultation survey concerning the annual fee for World Heritage listed properties on a voluntary basis presented in Part III.C, regrets the low response rate from States Parties and invites States Parties that have responded positively to make such supplementary voluntary contributions to the World Heritage Fund and States Parties which have not responded, to continue consultations with their respective local administrations;

    Flexibility in the management of the World Heritage Fund for a more efficient implementation of the Convention

  8. Taking into account the risk level of exchange rate fluctuation, authorises the Director of the World Heritage Centre to proceed, in consultation with the relevant UNESCO services, with all necessary budgetary adjustments in the second year of each biennium, with a maximum additional amount of US$ 100,000 to the provision for exchange rate fluctuation from the operating reserve, if the initial amount approved will not be sufficient;
  9. Noting the management constraints of the World Heritage Fund, also authorises the Director of the World Heritage Centre to make budgetary adjustments, when necessary, between approved headings and reserves, without exceeding a maximum of 15% of the approved World Heritage Fund Expenditure Plan, during the second year of each biennium and in conformity with the priorities and decisions of the Committee giving priority to the budget lines related to capacity-building and regional programmes, and requests the Secretariat to report accordingly to the Committee at its following sessions;
  10. Takes note furthermore of the Executive Board Document 204 EX/5 Part II.E on “Cost recovery policy: Revised Proposal for a differential rate policy for Management Cost Rates”;
  11. Also recalls the on-going concern about the sustainability of the Fund and the establishment of a Roadmap for the Sustainability of the Fund adopted by it at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017) that includes short-, mid- and long- term measures to address the constraints that the World Heritage Fund faces in view of the growing number of properties on the World Heritage List and the increasing need for support to States Parties;
  12. Recommends strongly that the current Management Cost rate of 0% continues to apply to the special account of the World Heritage Fund, thus avoiding a disruption of the current level of support provided through the Fund to States Parties to the Convention for the identification, protection and conservation of the World Heritage properties; 

    Part II: Follow-up to Decision 41 COM 14

  13. Also recalling its Decision 41 COM 14 on the sustainability of the World Heritage Fund,
  14. Further recalling the Roadmap for Sustainability of the World Heritage Fund approved by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  15. Expresses its appreciation to the ad-hoc Working Group for its work and recommendations with regard to the follow-up of Decision 41 COM 14;

    Resource mobilization

  16. Endorses the “Resource mobilization and communication strategy” Framework document contained in Annex to this Decision and also requests the Secretariat, with the support of the Advisory Bodies as appropriate and of those States Parties wishing to assist in this regard, to develop a two-year Resource Mobilization and Communication (RMC) Plan and to provide a report thereof to the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee in 2019;
  17. Welcomes the efforts made by the World Heritage Centre with regard to extrabudgetary resource mobilization opportunities and innovative fund-raising possibilities, including the Marketplace, also invites all States Parties to support these initiatives and other fund-raising events dedicated to the implementation of the Convention, also encourages all States Parties to assist the World Heritage Centre in fund-raising activities, and commends the Republic of Korea for its contribution of extrabudgetary funds to support fund-raising activities and partnership initiatives by the Centre;
  18. Takes note with appreciation of the proposal of a cost-sharing model for the evaluation of nominations, which was recommended for approval by the ad-hoc working group of 2017-2018 and described in Annex E of document WHC/18/42.COM/12A, and decides to further examine this matter, including possible modalities as well as legal basis or implications, at its 43rd session in 2019, with a view to referring it for examination by the General Assembly at its 22nd session in 2019;

    Recommendations of the Internal Oversight Service (IOS) Comparative Mapping Study

  19. In relation to Recommendation n°1 of the IOS study, also decides to keep the current practice of overhead costs in the contracts of the Advisory Bodies;
  20. In relation to Recommendation n°2 of the IOS study, takes note moreover of the summary of the legal opinion contained in Annex C of document WHC/18/42.COM/12A, also decides to continue to use the services of the current three Advisory Bodies and to further discuss through the ad-hoc working group the modalities for the possible use of services of other entities with suitable experience and knowledge, in line with UNESCO’s rules and regulations;
  21. In relation to Recommendation n°4 of the IOS study, further encourages the States Parties, Secretariat and the Advisory Bodies to continue exploring options for improvements to advisory services, taking into consideration maintaining and possibly improving quality, and achieving greater efficiency and potential cost savings;
  22. In relation to Recommendation n°4 of the IOS study with regard to reactive monitoring, furthermore encourages the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to expand the use of regional experts on reactive monitoring missions, if it would substantially reduce the travel costs and not decrease the quality of the expertise;
  23. Further requests the World Heritage Centre to report on the implementation of this Decision at its 43rd session in 2019.



Strategy framework document


Resource Mobilization and communication strategy:
an Outline
Fund-raising is FRIEND raising


This Strategy is developed further to the Roadmap for the sustainability of the World Heritage Fund adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017 and the Committee’s Decision 41 COM 14 paragraph 23 which recommended the development of a “long-term vision and strategy for effective resource mobilization and communication, taking into account all streams of funding”. The Strategy was developed by the Ad-hoc group 2017-2018, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session (Bahrain, 2018). The Strategy is established for the period 2018-2025 (8 years). It sets a target and timeline for the first 4-year period. After review of the results in 4 years, targets may be adjusted for the second quadrennial period. The Secretariat will provide a synthetic progress report to the Committee at its 44th session in 2020.

Situational analysis

Sustainability of the World Heritage Fund: this is a constant concern of the World Heritage Committee for the past 7 years, due to the increasing gap between the resources available through assessed contributions, which are stable, and the growing number of sites inscribed on the World Heritage List, which represent an average of 23 new sites inscribed per year.

New and increased threats for World Heritage: the impact of large-scale development projects and of conflicts and natural disasters at World Heritage sites generate new demands for support from States Parties and for engagement with partners.

Context of substantially reduced regular budget combined with a general trend of constrained Official Development Assistance (ODA) and diminishing extrabudgetary mobilisation: while some new donors have emerged in the recent past, especially from the private sector, the Convention still depends on a limited number of donors, mostly bilateral government funding partners, which exposes to financial vulnerability.

Trend of strongly earmarked contributions for specific operational projects: often tied to thematic or geographic priorities and bringing immediate results and visibility to the donors, they are more appealing than the core statutory functions or reinforcement of the World Heritage Centre’s staff. Resource mobilization for statutory Funds, financed by Member States’ assessed and non-earmarked contributions, is a very challenging task, as the interest expressed by external donors in such mechanisms varies between very little to none (as proven by experience of other conventions and funds).

Focus of the Strategy: ensuring the necessary critical mass of resources to sustain the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, both at the statutory and operational levels.

Vision statement

Protect and transmit World Heritage to future generations


  • Conservation and maintaining the OUV of World Heritage properties, with a particular focus on LCDs, developing countries, SIDS and Africa
  • Help rehabilitate and reconstruct heritage affected by conflicts
  • Provide assistance to States Parties in the implementation of the Convention, through enhanced support regarding normative and policy-related activities and statutory processes and operational activities
  • Train heritage professionals in the sustainable management of World Heritage and work towards mainstreaming of sustainable development goals in heritage-related conservation and management activities
  • Promote the involvement of local communities in the conservation and management of World Heritage.
Timeline: 2018-2021 (two biennia)
The proposed timeline corresponds to the medium term period set in the Roadmap for the Sustainability of the World Heritage Fund. This should allow a reasonable timeframe for implementation and achieving more tangible results.

Resource mobilization targets

As indicated in the situational analysis, there is a very low probability that fund-raising for the World Heritage Fund itself, from external donors, can bring spectacular results. It is therefore considered that if efforts, staff time and financial means are invested in resource mobilization, the target should be dual, in line with the vision statement and objectives above.

Target 1: World Heritage Fund (with a resource mobilization focus on Parties to the Convention as it is more reasonable to expect an increase from this group of stakeholders).
Target 2: extrabudgetary funding for statutory activities and operational activities (with a resource mobilization focus on all groups of stakeholders)

Target 1 (World Heritage Fund):

Overall: US$ 1,000,000 (US$ 250,000 per calendar year)

Rationale: The long-term target for the Fund, set by the Roadmap, is US$ 6,900 per site inscribed and per year, as it was in 1996. In mathematical terms, this would mean that the Fund should amount to US$ 7,403,700 per calendar year (2018 being taken as a basis for calculation). However, the actual approved Expenditure plan for 2018 amounts to US$ 2,658,438. This leaves a gap of US$ 4,745,000 per calendar year, between the current situation and the target set by the Roadmap. Keeping in mind the considerations in the situational analysis, and the fact that the amount of additional voluntary contributions by States Parties to the Fund has been an average of US$ 70, 000 per calendar year, it is considered that a more modest, realistic and achievable target should be set for 2018-2021. The amount per calendar year proposed as target for the Fund by this Strategy will represent an increase of more than 250% of the current level of additional voluntary contributions.

Target 2 (extrabudgetary funding, including additional appropriation to Regular Programme):

Overall: US$ 10,000,000 (US$ 2,500,000 per calendar year)

Rationale: This proposed target is in line with the “funding gap” identified for World Heritage-related Expected Result in the 39 C/5 (US$ 5,000,000 for the biennium 2018-2019).

Coherence with relevant UNESCO strategies, frameworks, documents and principles

The Strategy builds on the new UNESCO Resource Mobilization strategy adopted by the 204th session of the Executive Board of UNESCO, the Structured Financing Dialogue (SFD) principles as well the Culture Sector overall resource mobilization approach. To ensure efficiency and avoid repetition, it is understood that the implementation of the Strategy will be fully aligned with the priorities, principles and methodology outlined in the above documents, without integrating them specifically in this strategy. It is also understood that the Partnership for conservation (PACT) strategy adopted by the World Heritage Committee in 2013, which concerns resource mobilization with the private sector, will remain fully valid and will continue to be implemented accordingly, in conjunction with this Strategy and the above mentioned UNESCO strategy and frameworks.

Achieving the 5Cs (of World Heritage) through applying the 3Cs (for fund-raising)

For a prospective stakeholder to become a (good) donor, there must be:

    • Connection: identify which person is best placed to approach the prospective stakeholder;
    • Capability: make sure the prospective stakeholder can afford to donate or support otherwise;
    • Concern: make sure the prospective stakeholder is genuinely interested in the cause, what are his/her favourite causes, whom has he/she supported in the past.

Identifying and broadening the stakeholder group to ensure sustainability and continuity

  • Looking beyond the usual resources: broaden the base of support beyond the usual sources of funding; in addition to the traditional stakeholders groups such as bilateral ones, other sectors should be further explored, such as private sector, high-net-worth individuals, not-for-profit, NGOs, philanthropy and charity sectors, global and regional bank institutions, development fund, UN funding programmes, media outlets.
  • Scoping what stakeholders can provide: e.g. money, volunteer time, secondments, assets, equipment, technical assistance, sponsorships, joint promotions /marketing;
  • Developing a stakeholder map: visualize the environment and setting, identify if a right mix of supporters is achieved, identify the stakeholders that should be targeted and brought closer, as well as supporters for which the level of involvement can be deepened.
Prospecting potential donors and building relationship
  • Identifying the right potential donor to approach, and matching the appropriate resource mobilization approach to him/her: key element for the implementation of the Strategy;
  • Financial support comes as a result of relationship, related to a cause, rather than as a result of the cause in itself.
  • Fund-raising is FRIEND-raising: remember that people do not give money to causes, they give to PEOPLE with causes.
Engaging stakeholders support for Resource mobilization / Shared responsibilities
  • Forging further partnerships with various sectors: apply a multi-stakeholder approach where suitable and feasible, so that some stakeholders can assist in attracting resources from other stakeholders groups, e.g. government services, NGOs, private sector etc.
  • Sharing responsibilities: there is much States Parties can do to support the resource mobilization, beyond the provision of financial resources: e.g. advocating for UNESCO and the World Heritage Centre as a privileged implementation partner to potential donors, assisting in building multi-stakeholder partnerships, working on visibility etc. Very importantly, under article 17 of the World Heritage Convention, “The States Parties […] shall consider or encourage the establishment of national public and private foundations or associations whose purpose is to invite donations for the protection of the cultural and natural heritage as defined in Articles 1 and 2 of this Convention.”


  • Make the cause known by developing a set of strategic key communication messages: these should focus on the target right audience and media channels.
  • Anchor the overall communication around the key message/s: make sure these are present, in appropriate forms, in the internal and external communications materials, such as brochures, newsletters, websites etc.
  • Use the most suitable channels to target donors: depending on their profile.
  • Make sure the key messages have an IMPACT:
- Inspiring,
- Memorable,
- Positive,
- Attention-grabbing,
- Clear,
- Taken from experience

Selecting the right mix of Resource Mobilization vehicles

  • Funding proposals/Extrabudgetary projects (e.g. Market place)
  • Special events (e.g. galas and other fund-raising events)
  • Earned income (e.g. proceeds, royalties, licensing, merchandising, membership schemes)
  • Major gifts (e.g. legacy fundraising)
Gearing up for Resource mobilization
  • Ensuring people and systems are in place: this is the most serious challenge given the limited human resources of the Secretariat and the heavy workload which do not allow absorbing much additional work. Therefore, the Secretariat can be asked to organize the implementation of the Strategy, by applying its best efforts, to the extent possible, by assigning roles and responsibilities. Keeping in mind these constraints, the States Parties should, to the extent possible, strongly support the Secretariat in its Resource Mobilization efforts, including through providing financial resources or suitable expertise in the form of loan or secondment.
Monitoring Resource Mobilization activities
  • Keeping the Focus on the Goals: regular monitoring of financial-and non-financial indicators; number of donors, type and structure of donor base, expenditure related to implementation of strategy etc. would alert to problems or other issue and allow adjusting the focus.
Decisions adopted during the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee (Manama, 2018)
Context of Decision
Other Documents (3)
Amended draft decision 42 COM 14
Projet de décision amendé 42 COM 14
Amended draft decision 42 COM 14