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Decision 44 COM 7C
Draft Updated Policy Document On The Impacts Of Climate Change On World Heritage Properties

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7C,
  2. Recalling Decisions 40 COM 7, 41 COM 7, 42 COM 7 and 43 COM 7.2, adopted at its 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016), 41st (Krakow, 2017), 42nd (Manama, 2018) and 43rd (Baku, 2019) sessions respectively,
  3. Takes note with satisfaction of the wide range of climate change-related activities undertaken by the World Heritage Centre, in collaboration with the Advisory Bodies;
  4. Thanks the State Party of the Netherlands for having funded the project to update the 2007 Policy Document on the impacts of Climate Change on World Heritage properties, and expresses its gratitude to all the experts and representatives of States Parties, of the World Heritage Centre and of the Advisory Bodies who contributed to the meetings of the Technical Advisory Group;
  5. Takes note with appreciation that a wide diversity of stakeholders of the World Heritage Convention (States Parties, site managers, Advisory Bodies, World Heritage Centre and representatives of local communities, indigenous peoples, academics, NGOs and civil society) were able to contribute to the updating process through the online consultation launched by the World Heritage Centre;
  6. Takes note of the new title proposed for the updated Policy Document to become “Policy Document for Climate Action for World Heritage”;
  7. Endorses the draft "Policy Document on Climate Action for World Heritage”, as presented in Annex 1 of Document WHC/21/44.COM/7C, and requests the World Heritage Centre, in consultation with the Advisory Bodies, to revise it by incorporating views expressed and amendments submitted during the extended 44th session and, as appropriate, to consult Committee members, especially concerning the following points:
    1. the fundamental principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC), which is one of the basic pillars of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),
    2. the alignment of climate change mitigation actions with the CBDR-RC and the Nationally Determined Contributions accepted under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, except on an entirely voluntary basis,
    3. the need for support and capacity-building assistance, as well as the encouragement of technology transfer and financing from developed to developing countries;
  8. Recalls Decision 41 COM 7 and reiterates the importance of States Parties undertaking the most ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement of the UNFCCC, and strongly invites all States Parties to ratify the Paris Agreement at the earliest possible opportunity and to undertake actions to address Climate Change under the Paris Agreement consistent with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances, that are fully consistent with their obligations within the World Heritage Convention to protect the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of all World Heritage properties;
  9. Decides to transmit the draft "Policy Document on Climate Action for World Heritage”, following final revisions, for review and adoption at the 23rd session of the General Assembly of States Parties to the Convention in 2021;
  10. Also requests the World Heritage Centre, jointly with the Advisory Bodies, once the "Policy Document on Climate Action for World Heritage” is adopted by the General Assembly of the States Parties and within the available resources, to elaborate proposals for specific changes to the Operational Guidelines that would be required to translate the principles of this Policy Document into actual operational procedures, and to develop education and capacity-building initiatives that would be needed to enable wide implementation of this Policy Document, and calls on States Parties to contribute financially to this end;
  11. Further requests the World Heritage Centre, in parallel with the processes outlined in Paragraph 10, to convene a panel of experts drawn from the ad-hoc Working Group, World Heritage Centre, the Advisory Bodies and other qualified experts in the field of climate science and heritage to meet by March 2022 and also calls on State Parties to contribute financially to this end;
  12. Requests furthermore the World Heritage Centre, jointly with the Advisory Bodies, and subject to available resources, to consider preparing a Guidance Document to facilitate effective implementation of, and support for, the actions, goals and targets of this Policy Document, which could include indicators and benchmarking tools for measuring and reporting progress towards achieving the World Heritage Climate Action Goals, and further calls on States Parties to support this activity through extrabudgetary funding;
  13. Encourages the States Parties, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to disseminate widely the "Policy Document on Climate Action for World Heritage”, once adopted, through appropriate means to the World Heritage community and the broader public, including in local languages, and to promote its implementation;
  14. Recommends that the "Policy Document on Climate Action for World Heritage” be interpreted in the context of the UNFCCC, the Paris Agreement (2015) and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, and in conjunction with the Policy Document for the integration of a sustainable development perspective into the processes of the World Heritage Convention (2015);
  15. Urges States Parties and all stakeholders of the Convention to urgently integrate climate change mitigation and adaptation actions in risk preparedness policies and action plans, in order to protect the OUV of all World Heritage properties, in line with the "Policy Document on Climate Action for World Heritage”;
  16. Further recommends that World Heritage-related Category 2 Centres and UNESCO Chairs prioritize issues related to the implementation of the "Policy Document on Climate Action for World Heritage” within their capacity-building and research initiatives;
  17. Finally requests the World Heritage Centre, in consultation with the Advisory Bodies, to present a progress report on the implementation status of the "Policy Document on Climate Action for World Heritage” at its 48th session, after four years of implementation.
Documents
WHC/21/44.COM/18
Decisions adopted at the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee
Context of Decision
WHC-21/44.COM/7C
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