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Decision 44 COM 14
Presentation of the final accounts of the World Heritage Fund for 2018-2019, report on the execution of the budget for the biennium 2020-2021, budget proposal of the World Heritage Fund under the biennium 2022-2023 and follow-up to Decision 43 COM 14

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/14,
  2. 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, including Voluntary Contributions in accordance with Article 16.2 of the Convention, to ensure that their contributions are paid in the best of time to enable planning and optimum utilization;
  3. Noting that supplementary Voluntary Contributions increase the level of future World Heritage Fund budget, warmly thanks those States Parties which have already made such contributions in 2020 and in the past years and also calls upon all States Parties to consider allocating supplementary unrestricted Voluntary Contributions to the World Heritage Fund, either on the basis of one of the options recommended by the General Assembly of States Parties to the World Heritage Convention at its 19th session (2013), or by paying a voluntary annual fee for each property inscribed on the World Heritage List;
  4. Thanks the States Parties and private entities that have contributed to World Heritage Fund and its activities and invites other States Parties and private entities to contribute similarly;
  5. Notes with appreciation the financial and in-kind contributions provided by the Chinese authorities for the organization of the extended 44th session of the World Heritage Committee;
  6. Also recalls that the sustainability of the World Heritage Fund and overall funding for World Heritage are strategic issues and a shared responsibility which concerns all States Parties and relevant partners, affecting the overall credibility of the World Heritage Convention, including effectiveness and efficiency of World Heritage protection everywhere;

Part I: Implementation of the budget for the biennia 2018-2019 and 2020-2021

7. Takes note of the statement of accounts of the World Heritage Fund for 2018-2019 as of 31 December 2019;
8. Also takes note of the statement of accounts of the World Heritage Fund for 2020-2021 as of 31 December 2020;
9. Approves the reallocation of US$ 30,000 from budget line “Advisory Missions” to budget line “Studies and Evaluations” under the 2020-2021 budget in order to serve as seed money for the evaluation of the World Heritage Capacity Building Strategy requested by Decision 43 COM 6 (Baku, 2019) and the development of a new Capacity Building Strategy (Decision 44 COM 6);

Part II: Preparation of the budget for the biennium 2022-2023

10. Approves the budget for the World Heritage Fund for the biennium 2022-2023 and its corresponding breakdown as shown in Annex VI of Document WHC/21/44.COM/14;
11. Recalling Decision 43 COM 12 which recognized the importance of the overarching objective of the reform of the nomination process as a key measure for restoring the balance and credibility of the World Heritage List and which decided to endorse the principle of a two-phase nomination process, with the aim to help improve the quality of nominations and strengthen dialogue between States Parties and the Advisory Bodies,
12. Takes note of the estimated costs of the Preliminary Assessment as described in Annex VII of Document WHC/21/44.COM/14 and being mindful of the fact that the Preliminary Assessment constitutes the first phase of a two-phase nomination process and as such its full budgetary implications can only be understood in the context of the nomination process as a whole;
13. Considers that the integration of the Preliminary Assessment in the framework of the nomination process as a first phase should lead to reduced costs in the second phase;
14. Recognizes that further clarification is needed about the overall cost of the nomination process and of the impact of absorbing it into the existing budget which would have overall consequences on the implementation of the Convention, in particular on the Advisory Services;
15. Takes note that the transition period for introducing the Preliminary Assessment commences with the first deadline for submission of voluntary Preliminary Assessment requests by 15 September 2023;
16. Further takes note that the transition period will end in 2027, and that the total financial implications of the Nomination Reform will have to be reflected in the budget for the biennium 2024-2025, with the full budgetary effects to be reflected in the budget for the biennium 2026-2027 upon agreement by the Committee;
17. Considers that if the available funding for processing of Preliminary Assessment requests received by 15 September 2023 is insufficient, priority should be given to Preliminary Assessment requests coming from LDCs, States Parties with no properties inscribed on the World Heritage List, Natural and Mixed properties, States Parties with fewer than five properties inscribed on the World Heritage List; Preliminary Assessment requests which cannot be processed due to insufficient funding will follow the procedures outlined in the Operational Guidelines for the second phase of the nomination process in the transition period;
18. Encourages voluntary contributions for processing of Preliminary Assessment requests, in compliance with Paragraph 168bis of the Operational Guidelines;
19. Decides to use up to 40% of the funds available in the sub-account for the evaluation of nominations during the period August 2021-September 2023 to fund the Preliminary Assessment activities that take place in 2023 and to apply the priority system and modalities for the Preliminary Assessment requests received by 15 September 2023 as described above, being mindful that the sub-account shall also be used to support conservation activities, and also recalling that the source of sustainable funding of the Preliminary Assessment from 2024 must be identified by the Ad-hoc Working Group, that shall analyse and propose sustainable and innovative solutions – including the cost-sharing mechanism described in Paragraph 168bis. of the Operational Guidelines – for financing of the nomination process including the Preliminary Assessment;
20. Notes that the 50th anniversary of the Convention serves as an opportunity to thoroughly assess the Convention’s main achievements as well as its main challenges and how to address them;
21. Recalling Decision 42 COM 14, decides to task the Ad-hoc Working Group in addition to its mandate related to the Preliminary assessment, to present concrete proposals on the following:
a) Ensuring long term financial sustainability of all current and potential new Convention funds,
b) Transparency, efficiency and potential cost savings on the use of Convention financial resources (World Heritage Fund, UNESCO regular budget, and voluntary contributions),
c) Mapping of current and potential additional advisory service providers, with a view to improving geographical balance,
d) The possibility of exploring the criteria and governance under which the Committee may cooperate with international and non-governmental organizations in accordance with articles 13.7 and 14.2 of the Convention as well as Paragraph 38 of the Operational Guidelines;
22. Requests the Secretariat to submit to the Ad-Hoc Working Group a document on the points referred to in paragraph 21 above, which shall comprise:
a) The results of a survey of the opinions of States Parties,
b) Background information provided by the Secretariat,
c) Observations from the Advisory Bodies, and
d) A Performance Audit from the Internal Oversight Service;

and also requests the Secretariat, subject to the availability of financial resources, to contract a management consulting firm to prepare an independent assessment on the points referred to in paragraph 21 above;

23. Further decides that the Ad-hoc Working group shall work in consultation with the World Heritage Centre, Advisory Bodies and, as appropriate, relevant stakeholders, and submit its report and recommendations to the 45th session of the Committee;

Part III: Follow-up to Decision 43 COM 14

24. Also takes note with appreciation of the report on the implementation of the Resource Mobilization and Communication Plan for 2018-2020;
25. Congratulates the World Heritage Centre for its efforts on extrabudgetary resource mobilization, encourages all States Parties and invites them to support these initiatives for the benefit of the Convention;
26. Warmly thanks the States Parties who have contributed to the funding of the evaluation or monitoring missions undertaken by the Advisory Bodies and to the sub-account on the evaluation of nominations, and calls upon all States Parties to consider acting the same way;
27. Also requests the World Heritage Centre to report on the implementation of the World Heritage Fund and of the Resource Mobilization and Communication Plan for 2018-2021 at its 45th session.
Decisions adopted at the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee
Context of Decision