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World Heritage Convention

Decision 35 COM 12E
Global state of conservation challenges of World Heritage properties

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/INF.7C,

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 10 adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008), Decision 33 COM 14A.2 adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009), 34 COM 12 adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010) and Resolution 17 GA 9 adopted at the 17th General Assembly of States Parties (UNESCO Headquarters, 2009),

3. Expresses its appreciation to the States Parties of Australia and Senegal and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre for organising the expert meeting on global state of conservation challenges of World Heritage properties (Dakar, Senegal, 13-15 April 2011);

4. Notes the report provided by the participants at the above-mentioned expert meeting;

5. Invites contributions of relevant expertise and financial resources to assist States Parties implement decisions on the state of conservation of World Heritage properties;

6. Reiterates that nominations of properties for inscription on the World Heritage List must demonstrate Outstanding Universal Value in line with the criteria for inscription and comply with integrity/authenticity, protection and management requirements, as set out in the Operational Guidelines;

7. Requests the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to develop guidance, for consideration at the 36th session of the World Heritage Committee, to clarify:

a) The uses, limits and documentation requirements for traditional management (paragraphs 108 and following),

b) The need for Environmental Impact Assessments/Heritage Impact Assessments of potential developments' impact on Outstanding Universal Value, the range of proposed activities with a likely impact on Outstanding Universal Value to be reported on and the documentation required by the World Heritage Centre (Paragraph 172), and

c) Buffer zones or other protection mechanisms, noting the recommendations contained in document WHC-08/32.COM/7.1;

8. Requests that aspects concerning partnerships should be dealt with after the report of the external auditor on PACT at the 18th General Assembly of States Parties;

9. Requests the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to develop options to strengthen and improve the state of conservation reporting process, in particular  to increase dialogue with States Parties about World Heritage properties facing challenges;

10. Also requests the World Heritage Centre to formally notify States Parties of the state of conservation reports on World Heritage properties on their territory which will be the subject of examination by the Committee at the session indicated;

11. Also requests the World Heritage Centre to report at the 36th session of the World Heritage Committee on possible ways to encourage United Nations recognition for the protectors of World Heritage properties in conflict and post conflict zones, including through the use of blue/green berets or other appropriate insignia, and reminds States Parties to include details of Disaster Risk Reduction/Emergency Planning arrangements in their nomination dossiers and management plans;

12. Further requests the World Heritage Centre, in collaboration with the Advisory Bodies, in addition to the presentation of state of conservation reports on individual properties, to prepare a thematic report on significant global and regional factors negatively impacting the Outstanding Universal Value of the properties, grouped according to the five categories of factors affecting the Outstanding Universal Value identified in the Periodic Report questionnaire, Section II, to ensure a greater coherence in the decision making on individual sites;

13. Requests the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to provide, in the state of conservation reports on individual properties, a link to an integrated online database compiling all relevant background information concerning the property (previous state of conservation reports and Committee decisions, desired state of conservation, corrective measures, International Assistance requests, etc.) necessary for well-informed decision-making, to be hosted on the World Heritage Centre's website;

14. Also requests the Advisory Bodies to develop a database of existing guidance on key factors negatively impacting on the Outstanding Universal Value of World Heritage properties and tools for best management practice;

15. Recalling that being a signatory to the World Heritage Convention entails certain responsibilities, including a requirement to follow the Operational Guidelines, management of World Heritage properties according to the highest international standards, promotion of good governance and allocation of adequate funding for the protection of World Heritage properties, encourages States Parties to:

a) Develop adequate legislative frameworks to ensure compliance with the Operational Guidelines and set up a collaborative framework between agencies for the conservation of properties, including agencies in charge of the follow up of other conventions and international agreements,

b) Source assistance and support beyond what is available under the UNESCO World Heritage Fund, noting that tools, methodology and guidance are available both internationally and nationally from the Advisory Bodies and the World Heritage Centre and additional support should be sought from other donors, NGOs and international organizations,

c) Be proactive in relation to development and conservation of World Heritage properties by conducting a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) at the time of nomination to anticipate the impact of any potential development on the Outstanding Universal Value,

d) Ensure that EIA/HIA are conducted for development projects which could affect properties and that these specifically assess the impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of properties,

e) Involve indigenous peoples and local communities in decision making, monitoring and evaluation of the state of conservation of the properties and their Outstanding Universal Value and link the direct community benefits to protection outcomes,

f) Respect the rights of indigenous peoples when nominating, managing and reporting on World Heritage sites in indigenous peoples' territories;

g) Establish and promote horizontal cooperation and understanding among various institutions that have an impact on cultural and natural heritage, also including governmental institutions responsible for UNESCO programmes implementation on national level, economy, finance, regional development/ planning, tourism, social welfare as well as local authorities,

h) Follow the Recommendation concerning the Protection, at National Level, of the Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted simultaneously with the World Heritage Convention, by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972.

Decision Code
35 COM 12E
Community, Conservation, World Heritage Convention
Decisions Adopted by the Word Heritage Committee at its 35th Session (UNESCO, 2011)
Context of Decision