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World Heritage Convention

Decision 41 COM 14
Report on the execution of the budget for the biennium 2016-2017 and preparation of the budget for the biennium 2018-2019

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined documents WHC/17/41.COM/12A, WHC/17/41.COM/14, WHC/17/41. COM/INF.14.I and WHC/17/41.COM/INF.14.II;
  2. Recalling its Decisions 40 COM 13A and 40 COM 15;
  3. Also recalling “The World Heritage Convention: Thinking Ahead” initiative; the World Heritage Strategic Action Plan 2012-2022, and the Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List;
  4. Recognizing the severe strains on the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in dealing with limited financial and human resources to accomplish statutory tasks and manage increasing workloads;
  5. Expressing concern at the financial difficulties that the World Heritage Fund is facing and further recalling that the payment of assessed compulsory and voluntary contributions is, per Article 16 of the World Heritage Convention, a legal obligation incumbent on all States Parties which have ratified the Convention;
  6. Emphasizing the urgency of securing adequate financial resources to achieve the objectives of the 1972 Convention to identify and, in particular, to conserve the world's cultural and natural heritage of Outstanding Universal Value, especially in light of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and unprecedented threats such as climate change, natural disasters, and deliberate attacks on cultural heritage in territories affected by armed conflicts and terrorism;
  7. Further recalling Articles 13(6) and (7) of the Convention which stipulate that the Committee shall seek ways of increasing the resources of the World Heritage Fund and take all useful steps to this end, shall cooperate with international and national governmental and non-governmental organizations having objectives similar to those of the Convention, and for the implementation of its programmes and projects, call upon ICCROM, ICOMOS, and IUCN, as well as on public and private bodies and individuals;
  8. Underscoring that sustainability of the World Heritage Fund and overall funding for World Heritage are a strategic issue and a shared responsibility which concerns States Parties and relevant partners, affecting the overall credibility of the World Heritage Convention, including effectiveness and efficiency of World Heritage protection;
  9. Reaffirming the intergovernmental nature of UNESCO;

    Part I: Execution of the budget for the biennium 2016-2017 and preparation of the budget for the biennium 2018-2019
  10. Takes note of the statement of accounts of the World Heritage Fund for 2016-2017 as of 31 December 2016;
  11. Notes with appreciation the supplementary costs covered by the Polish authorities as host of the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee in addition to those listed in the Statement of Requirements;
  12. Approves the budget for the World Heritage Fund for the biennium 2018-2019 and its corresponding breakdown as shown in Annex IV and also takes note of the new format/structure of the budgets of Advisory Bodies (Annex V);

    Part II: Sustainability of the World Heritage Fund
  13. Expresses appreciation to the Ad Hoc Working Group for its work and recommendations;

    Roadmap for Sustainability of the World Heritage Fund
  14. Endorses the attached Roadmap for Sustainability of the World Heritage Fund, integrating short-, medium-, and long-term actions, involving relevant actors and stakeholders, with a view to enhancing cooperation, predictability, efficiency, and regular monitoring of efforts towards achieving sustainability of the Fund;
  15. Identifies 1996 as a possible benchmark year, with approximately 6900 USD per site between the World Heritage Fund and inscribed properties (as opposed to the current ratio of 2800 USD per site);
  16. Notes that implementation of the Roadmap should take into account and complement processes related to the 39 C/5, the External Audit of the Culture sector and efforts to develop common fundraising approaches among the cultural conventions, UNESCO’s global fundraising strategy, and the Open-Ended Working Group on governance, procedures and methods of work of the Governing Bodies of UNESCO;

    Resource mobilization
  17. Underscores that the highest ethical standards and principles must be upheld in all measures to enhance fundraising to maintain and promote the integrity of the Convention, taking into account UNESCO’s Administrative Manual, the Global Compact principles and the UN Guidelines on Cooperation between the United Nations and the Business Sector. Transparency and accountability must be ensured at all times;

    Arrears and contributions
  18. Calls on States Parties to remit assessed compulsory and voluntary contributions to the World Heritage Fund in a full and timely manner, and reaffirms that as stated in Article 15(4) of the Convention, no political conditions may be attached to contributions made to the Fund;
  19. Calls upon States Parties, which have not yet paid the totality of their assessed contributions for 2017, including voluntary contributions in accordance with Article 16.2 of the Convention, to ensure that their contributions are paid as soon as possible;
  20. Urges States Parties concerned to settle all outstanding arrears;
  21. Notwithstanding the significance and mandatory nature of assessed contributions, given the increasing demands on the World Heritage system, also calls upon States Parties to extend and/or augment voluntary financial and in-kind extrabudgetary contributions to the World Heritage Fund, World Heritage Centre, and the Advisory Bodies;
  22. Thanks States Parties which have already made supplementary voluntary contributions in 2017;

    Comprehensive Resource Mobilization and Communication Strategy
  23. Recommends the development of a long-term vision and strategy for effective resource mobilization and communication, taking into account all streams of funding, not only the World Heritage Fund, but also the Regular Budget and extrabudgetary sources;
  24. Also recommends that the proposed strategy seek to expand the Convention’s donor base to include not only governments and the private sector, but also civil society, NGOs, relevant regional organizations, development banks, multilateral funds and funding institutions, and, as appropriate, strengthen engagement with relevant Category 2 Centres, UNESCO field offices and other local actors in developing partnerships;
  25. Further recommends to the Governing Bodies of UNESCO that the Secretariat of the Convention be reinforced and encourages States Parties to contribute to the strengthening of the human resources of the World Heritage Centre, including with regard to its fundraising capacities;

    Core Group on resource mobilization
  26. Further takes note of the proposal to establish an informal Core Group on Resource Mobilization consisting of interested Member States (Committee members and States Parties) to support implementation of the Roadmap for Sustainability of the World Heritage Fund and ensure continuity;

    Forum of Partners
  27. Welcomes the efforts made by the World Heritage Centre on extrabudgetary resource mobilization opportunities and innovative fund raising possibilities, notably the “Marketplace” webpage as a first step in launching a full-fledged Forum of Partners in the future;
  28. Also endorses the concept of a Forum of Partners and decides that side-events be organized at sessions of the Committee concerning the World Heritage Centre’s “Marketplace” webpage, showcasing requests for international assistance recommended for approval and other projects in need of funding, in collaboration with future Chairs of the Committee, and inviting relevant stakeholders and potential donors;

    Revision of the PACT Strategy
  29. Acknowledges the continuing relevance of the PACT Strategy and progress made by the Centre in its promotion, especially new initiatives and partnerships being developed;
  30. Recommends furthermore that the PACT Strategy be updated and revised following the outcome of developments mentioned in paragraph 17 above, and become an integral part of a future comprehensive resource mobilization and communication strategy, as cited in paragraph 23 above;

    Consultation on annual voluntary fees of World Heritage listed properties
  31. Takes note moreover of the results of the online consultation survey concerning the annual fee for World Heritage listed properties on a voluntary basis presented in document WHC/17/41.COM/INF.14.I and, invites States Parties that have responded positively, for some of their World Heritage properties, to proceed with making supplementary voluntary contributions to the World Heritage Fund according to the modalities to be agreed with the Secretariat, and also invites the States Parties to continue consultations with their local administrations in charge of World Heritage properties and inform the Secretariat accordingly;
  32. Further invites States Parties to encourage site managers to include on the websites of listed properties a link to enable viewers to donate to the World Heritage Fund;

    Feasibility of an Optional Protocol
  33. If substantial progress in the financial situation is not attained by the Convention’s 50th anniversary in 2022, decides that the question of whether an Optional Protocol would be a feasible instrument to increase contributions to the World Heritage Fund for States Parties in a position to do so, be submitted to the General Conference for decision through the Executive Board, following the appropriate rules of procedure;
  34. Stresses that such an Optional Protocol should be strictly limited to financial matters, specifically means to increase the 1% ceiling for assessed contributions to the Fund, as defined in the Convention, and only for those States Parties willing to do so;

    Optimization of resources
    Prioritization of conservation
  35. In view of previous Committee decisions to prioritize conservation, recommends moreover that a greater proportion of time be devoted to discussion of conservation issues including how greater support can be provided to sites in need during Committee sessions;
  36. In conformity with article 11.4 of the World Heritage Convention, further recommends that, as a priority, States Parties concerned, working with the World Heritage Centre and relevant Advisory Bodies, develop, for the attention of the World Heritage Committee and partners and donors, costed action plans for sites on the Danger List and those in need, focusing on urgent conservation needs and capacity-building; such action plans should, where possible, be linked to requests for international assistance, the Marketplace webpage, and the Forum of Partners and the status of such plans, and the progress to secure funding for them, be reported to the World Heritage Committee;
  37. Highlights the need to strengthen cooperation with other cultural heritage and biodiversity-related Conventions and intergovernmental programmes, with a view to contributing to improved conservation and sustainable management of World Heritage;
  38. Finally recommends that the Committee consider the issue of setting a percentage of the Fund dedicated solely for conservation programs and activities, upon reviewing implementation of the revised paragraph 61 of the Operational Guidelines;

    Mapping study of advisory services
  39. Takes note moreover of the Comparative Mapping Study of forms and models for use of advisory services prepared by the UNESCO Internal Oversight Service (IOS) and also emphasizes the importance of balance between ensuring the highest quality of advisory services for the Convention and value for money and cost savings;
  40. Also decides to examine its findings at its next session, in view of optimizing the use of the resources of the Fund;
  41. Further notes the decision to extend the mandate of the Ad Hoc Working Group to be composed of members of the Committee and up to two non-members per Electoral Group, to work in consultation with the World Heritage Centre, Advisory Bodies and, as appropriate, relevant stakeholders, to:
  • Develop a comprehensive resource mobilization and communication strategy,
  • Also develop the proposal to establish an informal Core Group on Resource Mobilization, including its mandate and modalities,
  • Study how to maximize the impact and scope of the Forum of Partners,
  • Analyze the findings of the Internal Oversight Service (IOS) Comparative Mapping Study and develop proposals in view of optimizing the use of the resources of the World Heritage Fund, and
  • Discuss the definition of the upstream process and the effectiveness of the Global Strategy for a balanced and representative World Heritage List;
42.Requests the World Heritage Centre to submit a report on implementation of this decision at its 42nd session in 2018.

Roadmap for Sustainability of the World Heritage Fund

Vision: Substantial progress achieved towards increasing the World Heritage Fund, recalling 1996 levels (USD 6900 per site)

Mission: To enhance the system of World Heritage protection and strengthen implementation of the Convention equitably and sustainably


(up to 3 years)

(between 4 and 8 years)

(over 8 years)

Increasing funds and funding resources

  • Holding of side-events during Committee sessions on “Marketplace” webpage, as basis for further developing Forum of Partners
  • Continuation of voluntary fundraising measures endorsed by the Committee, with target of several (10 or more) States Parties doubling their annual contributions
  • Voluntary annual contributions from some sites
  • Links on listed properties’ websites for donations to the Fund
  • Support for increasing capacities of the World Heritage Centre, including for fundraising
  • Comprehensive resource mobilization and communication strategy, integrating a revised PACT strategy, adopted by the Committee to expand donor base, including, as appropriate, civil society and multilateral funds and institutions
  • Enhanced engagement of Category 2 Centres, field offices and local actors 
  • Informal Core Group on resource mobilization
  • Launch of Forum of Partners (as high-level or stand-alone event) with wider scope of donors and projects for greater impact and visibility
  • If substantial progress not achieved, feasibility of Optional Protocol for States Parties that agree to increase assessed percentage of annual contributions submitted to General Conference for decision


  • Possible Optional Protocol to raise 1% ceiling for assessed contributions to the World Heritage Fund

Re-calibrating current resources, functions and procedures

  • Prioritization of conservation through action plans for sites on Danger List and those in need, with linkages to international assistance and Forum of Partners
  • Mapping study of advisory services implications
  • Assessment of the implementation of paragraph 61 of the Operational Guidelines, consider setting quota/ percentage for conservation activities



Decision Code
41 COM 14
Budget, Reports
Decisions adopted during the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee (Krakow, 2017)
Context of Decision