The first session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (hereinafter referred to as the "Committee") was held in Paris from 27 June to 1 July 1977 and was attended by representatives of the fifteen States members of the Committee.
Representatives of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, the International Council of Monuments and Sites and the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (hereinafter referred to as the "Rome Centre", "ICOMOS" and "IUCN" respectively) attended the meeting in an advisory capacity. The discussions were also followed by representatives of two other States Parties to the Convention, of the United Nations and of a non-governmental organization.
The full list of participants is to be found in Annex I to this report.
After welcoming the representatives of States members of the Committee, the Director-General underlined the importance of the meeting for the pursuit of one of the fundamental objectives of the Organization - the promotion of the preservation and presentation of the cultural and natural heritage of mankind. He stressed the innovative character of the World Heritage Convention under which the Committee was established: for the first time, an international convention was concerned with both the cultural and the natural elements of the environment of man and, again for the first time, the ...
The Committee elected by acclamation Mr. Firouz Bagherzadeh (Iran) as its Chairman.
A member of the Committee proposed that Rule 12 of the Provisional Rules of Procedure should be amended to provide for the election of four Vice-Chairmen. This proposal was supported by two members and adopted by the Committee. The Committee then proceeded to elect by acclamation the representatives of the Arab Republic of Egypt, France, Nigeria and Poland, as Vice-Chairmen, and Peter H. Bennett (Canada) as Rapporteur.
The Chairman invited the members of the Committee to examine the Provisional Agenda prepared by the Secretariat. The representative of the Director-General proposed that an item on "other matters" be added to the Agenda; under this item would be considered the offer of collaboration from the International Organization for the Protection of Works of Art (document CC-77/CONF.OO1/5) and the proposed donation of Professor Badawy (document CC-77/CONF.OO1/7). He also suggested that the methods of work of the Committee should not be discussed separately but rather in conjunction with items 7 and ...
With the above modifications and on the above understanding, the Agenda was adopted.
In reply to a suggestion that the Rules of Procedure should be examined by a working group which would report back to the Committee at a later plenary meeting, the Legal Adviser stated that, in the absence of a text formally approved by the Committee, the Provisional Rules of Procedure would prevail and he therefore proposed that they be examined at an early plenary meeting; this would not prevent the Committee from amending the Rules of procedure at a later stage, if necessary. He added that the Rules of Procedure would probably only assume their final form after two or three sessions of ...
Several amendments were proposed to bring greater clarity to the text or to reflect more closely the terms of the Convention. The Rules relating to the election of officers and to the voting procedures gave rise to some comment.
With respect to the eligibility for re-election of members of the Bureau, participants considered that, although rotation in the membership of the Bureau was necessary, continuity in the work of the Committee was of paramount importance. Various proposals followed, some providing for re-election of all officers and others for re-election of the Vice-Chairmen and the Rapporteur only. A further proposal which sought to limit the eligibility of all officers for immediate re-election to a second term of office was finally accepted.
An explanation was requested on the different weightings required for a majority vote under the terms of paragraphs 2 and 3 of Rule 28. The Legal Adviser referred members to paragraph 8 of Article 13 of the Convention·which stipulated that "Decisions of the Committee shall be taken by a majority of two-thirds of its members present and voting". This provision was included in an Article of the Convention dealing with substantive questions and not with procedural matters. It was therefore considered that a two-thirds majority should be required on substantive questions. However, ...
Participants requested that two points raised in connection with the Rules of Procedure be noted in the summary record. The first related to the meetings of the Committee which, in the opinion of one member, should be given wide publicity. The second concerned the suspension of the Rules of Procedure which, as confirmed by the Legal Adviser, could be initiated by any State member of the Committee.
A corrigendum setting cut the modifications made by the Committee, as well as an amendment proposed by the representative of the Director-General to Rule 8.2, was examined at the last meeting of the Committee which then proceeded to adopt unanimously the revised text of its Rules of Procedure. (Annex II)
The Chairman invited the members of the Committee to consider the main working document and gave the floor to the representative of the Director-General who introduced the document which had been prepared with the assistance of the Rome Centre, ICOMOS and IUCN.
Some discussion ensued on the method to be followed in examining the different points raised in the document and it was decided to establish two working groups with which the Rome Centre, ICOMOS and IUCN would be associated and which would review the proposed criteria for the inclusion of cultural and natural properties in the World Heritage List, and drafting group which would formulate the decisions taken by the Committee on other matters. The Committee proceeded to debate the general principles involved in establishing the World Heritage List and to examine, one by one, the other ...
It was the opinion of several members that the Committee should issue a statement on the whole philosophy underlying the Convention and, in particular, the need for a World Heritage List. Others felt that the discussion on the criteria for inclusion of properties in the List would necessarily raise the philosophical concepts involved.
Several members felt strongly that the World Heritage List should be exclusive and that, because of its impact, the List - in which balance would be sought geographically and between cultural and natural properties - should be drawn up with extreme care. Responsibility for ensuring the exclusive character of the List would rest first of all, with the States nominating properties and secondly, with the Committee which would have the right to reject nominations; the adoption of criteria which would be used by the Committee to filter nominations therefore constituted a very important first ...
The feasibility of adopting criteria gave rise to some discussion, with member's referring to the difficulty already experienced in establishing criteria at the national level, to the changing and subjective nature of evaluations of qualities, to the impact of Western thought and to the difference between perception from within a given culture and perception from outside. The representative of ICOMOS, in reply, recognized the difficulty of drafting criteria to be applied to cultural property throughout the world and of translating concepts into words that were meaningful on a universal ...
Hope was expressed that sufficient information would be provided to States to enable them to select properties that were truly eligible for inclusion in the List and that the criteria adopted would assist States in restricting their choice of properties nominated. In this connection, one proposal put forward sought to impose on States a limit in the number of properties that they might submit in the first instance but, on reflection this was not considered advisable. It was, however, decided that States would be advised to limit the number of nominations submitted at a given time, on the ...
Questions were raised with respect to the calendar for the submission of nominations to be examined at the second session of the Committee. Many members mentioned difficulties for their own national authorities in meeting the deadline of 1 April 1978, particularly in those countries where complete inventories had not yet been established. Several members strongly urged that technical co-operation should be financed under the Fund for the preparation of these inventories. The representative of the Director-General referred participants in this respect to the Convention which explicitly ...
Several members considered that an independent assessment by experts of the nominations submitted would be essential and it was proposed that the nominations should be transmitted, for comments and evaluation, to the Rome Centre, ICOMOS or IUCN, as appropriate.
One member considered that States not Parties to the Convention should be able to have properties nominated by a State Party for inclusion in the List. Other participants inquired about the possibility of nominating properties not situated in national territories, such as international sites, for instance the United Nations building in New York, or regions such as Antarctica. However, it was pointed out that the Convention was very explicit in this respect, Article II referring to the submission by each State Party of inventories of properties situated in its territory.
The Committee then proceeded to examine the working document paragraph by paragraph and to put forward their comments which would be taken into account by the drafting committee in formulating the decisions taken by the Committee.
Several participants felt that the fundamental notion of the Committee's complete independence in evaluating nominations of States Parties should be more emphatically underlined. Others foresaw that certain properties would be re-evaluated in the light of new discoveries which may lead to the deletion of properties from the List. The "loss of integrity" referred to as a reason for the deletion of property from the List did not appear pertinent in the case of cultural property; for example, monuments in ruins, obviously having lost their integrity, could be eligible for inscription.
An emphasis given to properties which combine cultural and natural features demonstrating the interaction between man and nature might, in the opinion of some participants, be confusing in that it might appear to diminish the value of properties outstanding only from the cultural or natural points of view.
Another participant suggested that it should be indicated at the site itself that that site is included on the World Heritage List. On this point, the representative of the Director-General informed members that a World Heritage emblem was under preparation and this could well be used inter alia at the sites. It was feared by another participant that sites not included in the List and not marked by the emblem might be neglected by States.
The definition of “universal” given in paragraph 17 of the working document was found to be incomplete, in that time also was a factor that modified the appreciation of values.
It was proposed by several participants that, in the final text of the criteria, no examples should be cited, in order not to prejudice the decisions of the Committee. There was general agreement on this point.
The interpretation given of authenticity was challenged by several members who did not consider that it necessarily entailed maintaining the original function of property which, to ensure its preservation, often had to be adapted to other functions. Another member specified that functions could change but when this different function entailed fundamental and irreversible changes to the original form, authenticity should be considered as lost. The same member went on to plead that due recognition be given to "progressive authenticity", for example, monuments and buildings that are ...
Taking into account the comments made in plenary, a working group under the chairmanship of Mr. Michel Parent (France) reformulated the criteria for cultural property. The Chairman of the working group presented to a later plenary meeting the revised text on which several comments were formulated.
On the first criterion, the use of the word "spirit" was questioned and was replaced by "genius". One member requested that the word "scientific" referring to development be reinserted in criterion (iv). Another member proposed that "significant" be added to criterion (v) before the words "traditional style of architecture..". The same member queried the use of the word "site" in the introductory lines and asked that this should be interpreted as covering also groups of sites and large areas. This interpretation was accepted by the Committee. There was some discussion on the advisability ...
With the above modifications and some minor changes in form, the criteria were unanimously adopted by the Committee.
Some members questioned several changes made to the original draft text prepared by IUCN. For instance, there had been a change of emphasis from "representative" examples to "outstanding" examples in the different criteria, with which one member did not agree. The same participant found that too much emphasis had been laid on superlative examples (the highest, the largest, etc.). Another member sought to reinsert manageability as a criterion; in reply the IUCN representative considered that this should rather be taken into account at the stage of allocating funds. It was decided that, as ...
A working group under the chairmanship of Mr. David F. Hales (U.S.A.) then reviewed in detail the criteria and presented a revised text to a later meeting. With some minor changes in form proposed by the Chairman of the working group, the criteria were unanimously adopted by the Committee.
The proposal to prepare one printed form for nominations of cultural and natural properties that would provide brief explanations on the information to be given was endorsed by the Committee which decided that it would be used on a trial basis until changes became necessary. The list of information to be provided by States Parties, which had been modified by one of the working groups, was approved by the Committee.
On the question of model nomination files, there was some discussion on the organizations to be entrusted with this work, on the feasibility of associating the Bureau, and of the timing of their preparation. Whereas members of the Committee felt that model files would be extremely valuable to States Parties in preparing their nominations, they recognized that it was no easy task to prepare fictitious dossiers. It was finally decided that ICOMOS and IUCN would prepare model files which would be reviewed with the Secretariat before they were dispatched to States Parties. One participant ...
The very tight calendar proposed was discussed in some detail, with many participants referring once more to the difficulties their own governments would have to face in preparing in time their nominations. The question of limiting the number of nominations to be submitted by States was again raised, and whereas the decision previously taken in plenary not to impose any limit was maintained, it was decided that States would be requested to indicate an order of priority among the nominations submitted. States would, at the same time, be reminded that the process of submitting nominations ...
The exact role to be played by the Rome Centre, ICOMOS and IUCN gave rise to some discussion, one member proposing that all nominations should be transmitted automatically by the Secretariat for comments and evaluation to the competent organization. The representative of the Director-General agreed that the organizations had an extremely important role to play in reviewing the dossiers submitted by States Parties, and in particular in putting them into order but he feared that the addition of another step in the already tight calendar might entail delays. It was therefore decided that the ...
In order to present the Committee at its second session with a set of nominations that would be balanced by category and by geographical and cultural region, it was decided that the Bureau, meeting in June 1978, would review all the nominations received and decide which would be forwarded to the Committee. The following calendar would thus be followed:
November 1977: dispatch to States Parties of Director-General's letter, together with printed nomination form;
1 April 1978: receipt of nominations from States Parties;
April/May 1978: dossiers will be received and completed, if ...
The Committee decided to defer to a later session decisions relating to the form and periodicity of publication of the "World Heritage List".
Although one member found the list of information to be provided by States in making requests for assistance under the Fund to be rather too complicated and sophisticated, the Committee approved the content of requests for small-scale and large-scale projects.
The procedure proposed in the working document for the consideration of requests gave rise to few comments and was adopted by the Committee. Following the request by one member that assistance in documentation work should be added, the drafting group felt that there was no need to add a specific reference to documentation which appeared to be covered by the other activities mentioned in Article 22 of the Convention.
With respect to the granting of international assistance, it was suggested that, in view of the limited funds available, a fixed maximum sum should be made available for each project. This would be difficult, responded another participant, since each case would have to be considered separately in the light of resources available under the Fund and arrangements for complementary financing. Another proposed that such decisions should be taken on the basis of an annual budget submitted to the Committee at each session.
General agreement was expressed on the factors proposed for consideration in determining an order of priorities but some comments were made on the concepts of "educational value" and "socio-economic benefits".
It was therefore proposed that this question be taken up in depth at a later session. In the meantime, the phrase "consequences from the social and economic points of view" was adopted.
It was agreed that a draft text of the standard agreement would be prepared by the Secretariat and sent to members of the Committee well in advance of the second session.
It was decided that requests for emergency assistance would be receivable only from States Parties and only with respect to property included or nominated for inclusion in the World Heritage List. If these two conditions were met, the Secretariat would submit the request to the Chairman for decision in consultation with the Director-General on the type and extent of assistance to be granted.
The Committee decided that, at the request of States Parties, technical co-operation would be provided under the Fund for these two purposes*, in accordance with the terms of Article 21(1) of the Convention and within the limits of the approved budget (see paragraph 57 below). Such assistance would be in the form of expert services or equipment. Authority would be delegated to the Chairman who would decide, in consultation with the Director-General, on the type and extent of preparatory assistance to be granted.
* These purposes were referred to in the previous paragraph: (i) nominations ...
The Committee had no comments on the text of the Financial Regulations prepared by the Secretariat, and already noted by the General Assembly of States Parties and the Executive Board of Unesco.
The Committee decided to defer until a later session its decisions on the establishment and publication of the List of World Heritage in Danger and of the List of properties for which international assistance is granted and also with respect to the share to be contributed by the recipient State in any given project.
The Committee had before it the proposals of the Director-General on organizations that could be invited to send observers to future sessions of the Committee, as follows:
United Nations Environmental Programme;
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations;
World Food Programme;
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development;
Interamerican Development Bank;
Arab Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization;
Council of Europe;
Organization of American States;
South-East Asian Ministers of ...
The representative of the Director-General indicated that the Secretariat would closely re-examine the approved list of observers and should it appear that additional organizations ought to be included, the matter would be submitted to the meeting of the Bureau in June 1978.
At the last meeting of the Committee, the Chairman of the Drafting Committee presented his report which, after a statement on the philosophy underlying the Convention, set out the decisions taken by the Committee on the various questions raised in the main working document. He drew the attention of participants to Section IV of the document in which several recommendations addressed to States Parties were formulated. With a certain number of modifications, which are referred to in the appropriate section of this record, the report under the title of "Operational Guidelines for the ...
On the basis of resources available in the World Heritage Fund, the Secretariat proposed in document CC-77/CONF.001/6, a budget covering (i) the preparation of model nomination files, (ii) technical co-operation to States Parties in preparing their nominations and requests for assistance, and (iii) emergency assistance required before the next session of the Committee.
Members found the sums available to be very modest indeed and some felt that additional funds might be required. It was decided that the Bureau should have authority to increase the budget provisions, if necessary in the light of requests received and of funds available. With this provision, the Committee unanimously adopted the proposed budget.
The Scientific Director of the International Organization for the Protection of Works of Art presented the offer of collaboration of that Organization.
While-some members encouraged the Committee to accept the proposed offer which had no financial implications, others were uncertain as to whether the objectives of that Organization were the same as those of the Convention, particularly since the work of the Organization in question appeared to relate to movable cultural objects. This led to an exchange of views on the difficulty of distinguishing clearly between movable and immovable cultural property.
It was subsequently decided that the International Organization for the Protection of the Works of Art would be invited to attend future sessions of the Committee, in an observer capacity. However, a member of the Committee asked that it be noted that this decision was in no way to be interpreted as recognizing a special status for that Organization within the framework of the World Heritage Convention and that there was no commitment on the part of the Committee to grant a special status in the future.
The representative of the Director-General introduced document CC-77/CONF.001/7 which, at this stage, was submitted to the Committee for information only. He explained that the offer included a house in Cairo and a capital fund of $240,000 from which the interest could be used to finance a number of fellowships in Egyptian archaeology; he pointed out that the administrative and practical problems involved in the upkeep of the house would make it difficult to accept that part of the donation.
The representative of the Arab Republic of Egypt supplemented the information provided, giving further details on Professor Badawy's offer.
The Committee expressed sincere thanks to Professor Badawy for his offer and authorized the Secretariat to study further the exact conditions of the offer and to report to it at its second session.
The representative of the United States of America, on behalf of the Secretary of State invited the Committee to hold its next session in Washington. The Committee expressed its gratitude to the United States for this generous offer, which was accepted by acclamation.
It was decided that the exact dates of the next session, which would take place between 15 September and 31 October 1978, would be fixed by the Chairman, in consultation with the Government of the United States of America and the Director-General.
It was further decided that the Bureau would meet in Paris on 8 and 9 June 1978. The Rome Centre, ICOMOS and IUCN would be invited to attend.
At the last plenary meeting the Rapporteur presented an oral report in which he highlighted the main conclusions and decisions of the Committee. In concluding his report, he referred to one issue that had not been discussed during the session, namely Secretariat assistance to the Committee: in view of the volume and complexity of the administrative work involved both in the preparation of documentation for the sessions of the Committee and in implementing its decisions, which would be particularly heavy as from 1979, he suggested that Unesco should carefully examine the situation and ...
The Rapporteur's oral report has been incorporated into the present summary record, of which it forms a substantial part.