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World Heritage Convention

Decision 44 COM 12
Revision of the Operational Guidelines

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/12,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 12 adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019), which recognized the importance of the overarching objective of the reform of the nomination process as a key measure for restoring the balance and the credibility of the World Heritage List and which decided to endorse the principle of a two-phase nominations process, with the aim to help improve the quality of nominations and strengthen dialogue between States Parties and the Advisory Bodies,
  3. Expresses its appreciation to the Ad-hoc Working Group, the State Party of the People’s Republic of China for its commitment and able leadership, the World Heritage Centre, the Advisory Bodies and the geographically and gender balanced small expert drafting group, for their work and recommendations;
  4. Notes that the proposed revisions to the Operational Guidelines have been prepared on the basis of the outcomes of the online survey of States Parties and other relevant stakeholders of the Convention on the Nomination Process and the recommendations of the reflection meeting of experts (Tunis, 2019) and have been reviewed, amended and endorsed by the 2021 Ad-hoc Working Group;
  5. Further notes 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;
  6. Also takes note that the transition period will end in 2027, and that the Preliminary Assessment will be mandatory, meaning that only nominations with a Preliminary Assessment will be examined by the World Heritage Committee from 2028 onwards;
  7. Decides on the basis of the aforementioned Preliminary Assessment and related transition period to adopt the proposed revision of the Operational Guidelines and further decides that Annex 5 will enter into force on 2 February 2022.
Decision Code
44 COM 12
Operational Guidelines
Decisions adopted at the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee
Context of Decision