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International conference on reconstruction: The challenges of World Heritage recovery

6-8 May 2018
Historic Centre of Warsaw, Poland © OUR PLACE The World Heritage Collection | Geoff Steven

The purpose of this international conference is to summarize previous discussions and experiences regarding the recovery and reconstruction of UNESCO World Heritage sites and attempt to develop the most appropriate, universal guidelines for moving forward with properties of exceptional value at the time of destruction. 

Implementing declarations from the decisions of the World Heritage Committee of 2016 (40 COM 7) and 2017 (41 COM 7), Poland as a State Party to the World Heritage Convention is organizing, in cooperation with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, the conference entitled "The challenges of World Heritage recovery. International conference on reconstruction".

Panel 1: Integrative approach for recovery – Challenges and opportunities 
Theory and methodology
Panel 2: The Processes of Recovery — taking stock of the past experiences: documentation
Panel 3: History and Memory
Panel 4: Communities and cultural rights,
Panel 5: The challenges of Urban Heritage recovery


For more information: http://www.whrecovery2018.pl/

World Heritage Properties (1)
States Parties (1)
When

Sunday, 6 May 2018
Tuesday, 8 May 2018

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Where
Royal Castle, Warsaw, Poland
Decisions (2)
Code: 41COM 7
Title: State of Conservation of the Properties Inscribed on the World Heritage List

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC/17/41.COM/7, WHC/17/41.COM/7A, WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add, WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC/17/41.COM/7B and WHC/17/41.COM/7B.Add and WHC/17/41.COM/7B.Add.2,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Thanks the State Party of Poland, Host Country of the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee (Krakow, 2017), for having organized the first World Heritage Site Managers Forum, as a capacity-building exercise aiming at increasing the understanding of the World Heritage decision-making process among site managers, in order to achieve a more effective protection of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), takes note with appreciation of the World Heritage Site Managers’ Forum Statement and encourages the future Host Countries to continue this initiative and organize World Heritage Site Managers Forums in conjunction with the World Heritage Committee session;

    Statutory matters related to Reactive Monitoring
  4. Takes note of the practices of the Secretariat to address mass campaigns on state of conservation issues;
  5. Recalling the importance of Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines and its adequate implementation, further recalls Decision 40 COM 7, which requests the World Heritage Centre, in cooperation with the Advisory Bodies to evaluate the effectiveness of the Reactive Monitoring including procedures and case studies and to present a preliminary report for the consideration by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018, if funds are available;

    Emergency situations resulting from conflicts
  6. Deplores the conflict situation prevailing in several countries, the loss of human life as well as the degradation of humanitarian conditions and expresses its utmost concern at the damage sustained and the threats facing cultural and natural heritage in general;
  7. Urges all parties associated with conflicts to refrain from any action that would cause further damage to cultural and natural heritage and to fulfill their obligations under international law by taking all possible measures to protect such heritage, in particular the safeguarding of World Heritage properties and the sites included in the Tentative List;
  8. Also urges States Parties to adopt measures against using World Heritage properties for military purposes;
  9. Takes note of the progress made by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to launch a reflection on a post-conflict recovery strategy, and of the support extended so far through technical assistance, capacity-building, and exchange of best practices in this regard, and recommends that further support for threatened or damaged World Heritage properties be pursued;
  10. Notes with concern that the conflict situation in several countries in the world has increased considerably the workload of the World Heritage Centre staff, and that an adequate implementation of the Action Plans for the Emergency Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage in Mali, Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen requires additional financial and human resources at the World Heritage Centre and in the UNESCO field offices; also notes the increased demands on the resources of the Advisory Bodies;
  11. Calls on the international community to provide financial support for the implementation of the UNESCO Action Plans for the Emergency Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, including for additional human resources at the World Heritage Centre and in the UNESCO field offices;
  12. Also expresses its utmost concern about the impacts of conflicts causing an escalation of the already severe poaching crisis, as armed groups are financing their activities through illegal wildlife trade, which is having a severe impact on African wildlife, and uncontrolled development, threatening the very survival of species and the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of natural World Heritage properties;
  13. Launches an appeal to all Member States of UNESCO to cooperate in the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural heritage objects (UNESCO 1970 Convention) and illegal wildlife trade, including through the implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and to pursue the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions regarding cultural heritage protection in conflict areas, especially Resolution 2199 and 2347;

    Other conservation issues
    Reconstruction
  14. Noting the continued need to address the issue of reconstruction in World Heritage properties following conflicts or disasters, expresses its satisfaction that several international meetings have taken place or are being planned on recovery at large, and reconstruction in particular, and welcomes the offer of the Government of Poland to host an international conference on Reconstruction to provide guidelines to the World Heritage Committee to be held in Warsaw in March 2018;
  15. Encourages the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to continue, with all relevant stakeholders, the reflection on reconstruction within World Heritage properties as a complex multi-disciplinary process, towards developing new guidance to reflect the multi-faceted challenges that reconstruction brings, its social and economic context, the short- and long-term needs of properties, and the idea of reconstruction as a process that should be undertaken within the framework of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the properties;
  16. Urges States Parties to include risk mitigation measures in the management plans of World Heritage properties to address the potential effects of conflicts or disasters on their integrity;
  17. Also encourages the inclusion of capacity-building initiatives in the framework of recovery plans;
  18. Requests the States Parties involved in reconstruction projects to maintain dialogue and close consultation and cooperation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;

    Climate change
  19. Recalls its Decision 40 COM 7 in relation to Climate Change, and requests the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to pursue the implementation of this Decision as a priority, within available resources;
  20. Expresses its utmost concern regarding the reported serious impacts from coral bleaching that have affected World Heritage properties in 2016-17 and that the majority of World Heritage Coral Reefs are expected to be seriously impacted by Climate Change;
  21. Noting that the World Heritage Centre, in consultation with IUCN, has initiated a scientific assessment by independent experts to better understand the impacts of Climate Change on coral reef World Heritage properties, also requests the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, as resources allow, to complete this assessment as soon as possible, and to ensure its findings are communicated effectively, and further requests the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies to further study the current and potential impacts of Climate Change on the OUV of World Heritage properties;
  22. Reiterates the importance of States Parties undertaking the most ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and by pursuing efforts to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change” 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 the light of different national circumstances, that are fully consistent with their obligations within the World Heritage Convention to protect the OUV of all World Heritage properties;
  23. Takes note with satisfaction of the updated UNESCO Strategy for Action on Climate Change, approved by the UNESCO Executive Board at its 201st session in April 2017 (201 EX/Decision 5.I.B), and invites all States Parties to engage fully with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, for its effective implementation;
  24. Also recalls the need for all States Parties to continue, and where necessary to strengthen all efforts to build resilience of World Heritage properties to Climate Change, including by further reducing to the greatest extent possible all other pressures and threats, and by developing and implementing climate adaptation strategies for properties at risk of Climate Change impacts;
  25. Requests furthermore the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to report on progress in relation to action on World Heritage and Climate Change, and to present, subject to available time and resources, a proposed update to the “Policy Document on the Impacts of Climate Change on World Heritage Properties”, for possible consideration by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018, and notes with appreciation the willingness of civil society groups to engage in this process;

    Urban pressure
  26. Noting that the increasing urban pressure in and around numerous World Heritage properties has become a major threat to their Outstanding Universal Value (OUV),
  27. Taking note of the outcomes of the Habitat III Conference and notably the adoption of the “New Urban Agenda”,
  28. Also taking note of the necessity to pursue the application of the Historic Urban Landscape approach towards a more effective and durable conservation and management of the urban heritage inscribed on the World Heritage List, and requests the States Parties to fully consider the 2011 UNESCO Recommendation on Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) ;
  29. Calls on States Parties to take into account the recommendations of the Global Report on Culture for Sustainable Urban Development and take the necessary measures to integrate the role of culture in sustainable urban development in order to achieve SDG 11 – Target 4;

    Vandalism
  30. Notes with concern increasing vandalism at World Heritage properties and encourages States Parties to improve monitoring and security measures as well as awareness raising on the detrimental effects of vandalism, and to consider introducing creative solutions to allow visitors to express themselves without leaving permanent marks or damage;

    Disasters Risk Reduction
  31. Welcomes the Action Plan for the implementation of the Strategy for reinforcing UNESCO’s action for the protection of culture and the promotion of cultural pluralism in the event of armed conflict (hereafter the Strategy), adopted by the UNESCO General Conference in 2015 (38 C/Res.48), whose implementation would be of great importance for the protection of World Heritage in situations of armed conflicts and disasters associated with natural and human-made hazards;
  32. Encourages States Parties to provide support to the implementation of the Strategy and its Action Plan, including through contributions to the Heritage Emergency Fund, as well as in kind contributions and advocacy at the highest international levels for the integration of a concern for culture in key international humanitarian, development, and peacekeeping operations;

    Invasive species
  33. Recalling its Decision 39 COM 7, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  34. Noting with concern the continued threat posed by invasive alien species on natural World Heritage properties, strongly encourages the States Parties to develop adequately resourced invasive alien species strategies that emphasize prevention and early warning and rapid response in World Heritage properties;

    Illegal trade of wildlife species
  35. Reiterates its utmost concern about the continued impacts of poaching and illegal logging on World Heritage properties driven primarily by the illegal trade of wildlife species and its products, and requests the World Heritage Centre and IUCN to take action, as resources permit, to strengthen the collaboration between the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the World Heritage Convention;
  36. Reiterates its appeal to all Member States of UNESCO to cooperate in the fight against the illicit trade in wildlife and its products, including through the implementation of the CITES, and with the full engagement of transit and destination countries;

    Integrated approaches for the conservation of natural and cultural heritage
  37. Recalling that the World Heritage Convention explicitly links the concepts of cultural and natural heritage, highlights the importance of promoting integrated approaches that strengthen holistic governance, improve conservation outcomes and contribute to sustainable development;
  38. Notes with appreciation the growing interest and efforts by the States Parties and heritage practitioners to develop and apply integrated approaches to conservation of natural and cultural heritage, and encourages the States Parties, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, in cooperation with universities and other relevant actors, to continue and expand these efforts, in accordance with the Policy Document for the integration of a Sustainable Development Perspective into the Processes of the Convention (2015);

    List of World Heritage in Danger
  39. Reiterates its request to the World Heritage Centre, in consultation with the Advisory Bodies and States Parties, to promote better understanding of the implications and benefits of properties being inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, and to develop appropriate information material in this regard with a view to overcome the negative perceptions of the List of World Heritage in Danger. The information material should highlight the importance of the protection of the Outstanding Universal Value;

    Other issues
  40. Takes note with appreciation of the Chairperson of the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee’s initiative on structured dialogue with civil society and encourages States Parties and civil society organizations to continue exploring possibilities how civil society can further contribute to enhanced conservation of heritage on the site and national level and provide relevant input to the heritage related debate at the global level;
  41. Notes, in conformity with Resolution 20 GA 13 of the General Assembly of the World Heritage Convention and the Decision 39 COM 11 (Bonn, 2015) of the World Heritage Committee, the establishment of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on World Heritage as an important reflection platform on the involvement of Indigenous Peoples in the identification, conservation and management of World Heritage properties, with a particular focus on the nomination process.

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    Code: 40COM 7
    Title: State of Conservation of World Heritage Properties

    The World Heritage Committee,

    1. Having examined Documents WHC/16/40.COM/7, WHC/16/40.COM/7A, WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add, WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC/16/40.COM/7B, WHC/16/40.COM/7B.Add and WHC/16/40.COM/7B.Add.2,
    2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),

      Emergency situation resulting from conflicts
    3. Deplores the conflict situation prevailing in several countries, the loss of human life as well as the degradation of humanitarian conditions and expresses its utmost concern at the damage sustained and the threats facing cultural and natural heritage in general;
    4. Urges the States Parties to ratify international instruments such as the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and implores States Parties associated with conflicts to refrain from any action that would cause further damage to cultural and natural heritage and to fulfil their obligations under international law by taking all possible measures to protect such heritage, in particular the safeguarding of World Heritage properties and the sites included in the Tentative List;
    5. Also urges the States Parties to adopt measures that oppose World Heritage properties being used for military purposes;
    6. Takes note of the progress made by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to launch a reflection on a post-conflict recovery strategy, and of the support extended so far through technical assistance, capacity-building, and exchange of best practices in this regard, and recommends that further support for threatened or damaged World Heritage properties be pursued;
    7. Notes with concern that the conflict situation in several countries in the world has increased considerably the work load of the World Heritage Centre staff, and that an adequate implementation of the Action Plans for the Emergency Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage in Mali, Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen requires additional financial and human resources at the World Heritage Centre and in the UNESCO field offices; also notes the increased demands on the resources of the Advisory Bodies;
    8. Calls on the international community to provide financial support for the implementation of the UNESCO Action Plans for the Emergency Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, including for additional human resources at the World Heritage Centre and in the UNESCO field offices;
    9. Also expresses its utmost concern about the impacts of conflicts causing an escalation of the already severe poaching crisis, as armed groups are financing their activities through illegal wildlife trade, which is having a severe impact on African wildlife, threatening the very survival of species and the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of World Heritage properties;
    10. Launches an appeal to all Member States of UNESCO to cooperate in the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural heritage objects and illegal wildlife trade, including through the implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the ratification of the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property and to pursue the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2199 of February 2015 regarding Syria and Iraq;

      Other conservation issues

      Reconstruction

    11. Noting that the recent and wide-ranging deliberate destruction of World Heritage properties as a result of armed conflict in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Mali and Nigeria, and the devastating earthquakes in Nepal, have brought sharply into focus the issue of reconstruction in World Heritage properties; that several international meetings have taken place or are being planned on reconstruction; and that guidance within the Operational Guidelines is currently inadequate,
    12. Recommends that more in depth reflection is needed on reconstruction within World Heritage properties as a complex multi-disciplinary process, and that consideration should be given to developing new guidance to reflect the multi-faceted challenges that reconstruction brings, its social and economic context, the short- and long-term needs of properties, and the idea of reconstruction as a process that should be undertaken within the framework of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the properties;
    13. Welcomes the offer of the Government of Poland to host an international conference on Reconstruction to provide guidelines to the World Heritage Committee;

      Climate Change
    14. Taking note of the agreement reached during the 21st conference (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in 2015, requests the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to assist States Parties to implement appropriate management responses to the adverse effects of Climate Change;
    15. Recommends that the World Heritage Centre strengthen its relations with other organizations working on Climate Change, particularly with the UNFCCC and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) secretariats, and specifically with regard to the effect of Climate Change on World Heritage properties, and also requests the States Parties, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to work with IPCC with the objective of including a specific chapter on natural and cultural World Heritage in future IPCC assessment reports;
    16. Further requests the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to periodically review and update the “Policy Document on the Impacts of Climate Change on World Heritage properties”, so as to make available the most current knowledge and technology on the subject to guide the decisions and actions of the World Heritage community;

      Dams
    17. Notes with significant concern that an increasing number of properties are facing potential threats from major dam projects, considers that the construction of dams with large reservoirs within the boundaries of World Heritage properties is incompatible with their World Heritage status, and urges States Parties to ensure that the impacts from dams that could affect properties located upstream or downstream within the same river basin are rigorously assessed in order to avoid impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);

      Extractive industries
    18. Noting with significant concern that World Heritage properties are increasingly threatened by extractive industries, as confirmed by the 2014 IUCN World Heritage Outlook report, by the World Heritage Centre’s analysis of issues reported in state of conservation reports also revealing the potential threat from extractive activities to cultural properties, and by the 2016 report by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), welcomes the “No-go” commitments to World Heritage properties made by Tullow Oil plc and CEMEX in November 2015 and April 2016 respectively, and reiterates its call on other extractive industry companies and investment banks to follow these examples to further extend the “No-go” commitment;
    19. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7, once again urges all States Parties to the Convention and leading industry stakeholders to respect the “No-go” commitment by not permitting extractive activities within World Heritage properties, and by making every effort to ensure that extractives companies located in their territory cause no damage to World Heritage properties, in line with Article 6 of the Convention;

      Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs)/Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs)
    20. Notes with concern that a majority of properties potentially affected by proposed development projects, proposed legal instruments, and proposed management systems have not benefited from an assessment of impacts on their Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) in line with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment and ICOMOS’ Guidance on Heritage Impact Assessments for Cultural World Heritage Properties, and requests all States Parties to the Convention to ensure that potential direct, indirect and cumulative impacts on the OUV, including from projects located outside the boundaries of natural and/or cultural World Heritage properties, are specifically assessed within the framework of the EIA and HIA required by the applicable laws and regulations, and that reports of such assessments are submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
    21. Recalls Article 6 of the Convention according to which “Each State Party to this Convention undertakes not to take any deliberate measures which might damage directly or indirectly the cultural and natural heritage […] situated on the territory of other States Parties to this Convention”, and also requests all States Parties to the Convention to ensure that EIAs and HIAs include an assessment of impacts on the OUV of World Heritage properties situated on the territory of other States Parties, as appropriate;
    22. Further requests the Advisory Bodies, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre, to consider opportunities to streamline their guidance on impact assessment in order to develop one single guidance document for the assessment of impacts on both natural and cultural properties;

      Integrated management, Decision making, Governance
    23. Noting with concern that the lack of an integrated management approach is reported to cause challenges to the coordination of management and decision making processes of properties where different authorities are involved, in particular in the cases of mixed, serial, and transboundary properties, urges States Parties to establish appropriate mechanisms in order to facilitate a coordinated approach to the management of all properties, in line with the requirements of the Operational Guidelines as laid out in Paragraphs 112, 114, and 135, and encourages States Parties with contiguous natural properties on either side of their international borders, which are not listed as transboundary properties, to establish appropriate mechanisms for cooperation between their respective management authorities and ministries;
    24. Also encourages States Parties to promote recognition and awareness across all relevant national and regional agencies of the World Heritage status of the properties on their territory, and to develop mechanisms to ensure consideration of impacts on Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) in the decision making processes of relevant ministries, before permits are issued for developments that could negatively impact the OUV;

      Ground transport infrastructures
    25. Notes with concern that the number of cases of ground transport infrastructure having potential impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of World Heritage properties is continuing to grow, and calls upon States Parties to carry out Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs) early in the process of transportation planning to allow for potential impacts of the OUV, including those resulting from foreseeable associated future developments, to be identified prior to the development of specific projects;
    26. Encourages States Parties to carry out Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and Heritage Impact Assessments (HIA) on ground transport projects, once they are designed, with multiple options to ensure that transportation needs can be met with minimal impacts on the OUV of World Heritage properties;

      List of World Heritage in Danger
    27. Takes note of its discussions under agenda items 7A and 7B, and requests the World Heritage Centre, in consultation with the Advisory Bodies and States Parties, to promote better understanding of the implications and benefits of properties being inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, and to develop appropriate information material in this regard with a view to overcome the negative perceptions of the List of World Heritage in Danger. The information material should highlight the importance of the protection of the OUV;

      Reactive Monitoring
    28. Requests the World Heritage Centre, in cooperation with the Advisory Bodies to evaluate the effectiveness of the Reactive Monitoring including procedures and case studies and to present a preliminary report for the consideration by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018, if funds are available.

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