Policy Compendium

Themes2.2.5.3 - Management systemsclose2.7.4 - Cultural Landscapesclose2.7.2 - Transboundary and transnational propertiesclose2.2.6 - Boundaries and buffer zonesclose2.2.3 - Authenticityclose2.2.2 - World Heritage criteriaclose2.2.1 - Outstanding Universal Value: definition and attributesclose2.6 - Comparative studiesclose
Select source(s): 0
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value

Paragraph 49

“Outstanding Universal Value means cultural and/or natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity. As such, the permanent protection of this heritage is of the highest importance to the international community as a whole. The Committee defines the criteria for the inscription of properties on the World Heritage List.”

Theme: 2.2.1 - Outstanding Universal Value: definition and attributes
Source: OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value

Paragraph 78

“To be deemed of Outstanding Universal Value, a property must also meet the conditions of integrity and/or authenticity and must have an adequate protection and management system to ensure its safeguarding.”

Theme: 2.2.1 - Outstanding Universal Value: definition and attributes
Source: OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value

3. "[The World Heritage Committee], conscious that outstanding universal value is a concept that shall embrace all cultures, regions and peoples, and does not ignore differing cultural interpretations of outstanding universal value because they originate from minorities, indigenous groups and/or local peoples,

4. Recognises that the identification of outstanding universal value on the basis of the established criteria needs to be analysed also in their cultural and natural context, and that in some instances, the tangible and intangible interpretations cannot be separated."

Theme: 2.2.1 - Outstanding Universal Value: definition and attributes
Decision: 30 COM 9
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value
9. "[The World Heritage Committee] reinforces the rigorous, objective and consistent application of the three key tests to determine Outstanding Universal Value as set out in the Operational Guidelines:

a) the property must meet one or more of the 10 criteria (Paragraph 77);

b) the property must meet the conditions of integrity and/or authenticity (Paragraphs 79/95); and

c) the property must have an adequate protection and management system in place to ensure its safeguarding (Paragraph 78)."

Theme: 2.2.1 - Outstanding Universal Value: definition and attributes
Decision: 32 COM 9
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value

3. "[The World Heritage Committee considers that], in compliance with the Convention and the Operational Guidelines, Outstanding Universal Value is recognised at the time of inscription of a property on the World Heritage List and that no recognition of Outstanding Universal Value is foreseen prior to this stage (…)."

Theme: 2.2.1 - Outstanding Universal Value: definition and attributes
Decision: 42 COM 8
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value
5. "[The World Heritage Committee] Also recalling that the Operational Guidelines set out the conditions for inscription on the World Heritage List, strongly reiterates that only meeting criteria is not enough to warrant inscription, as to be deemed of Outstanding Universal Value a site must also meet the conditions of integrity (and authenticity) and must have an adequate protection and management system to ensure its safeguarding, as outlined in paragraph 78 of the Operational Guidelines;"
Theme: 2.2.1 - Outstanding Universal Value: definition and attributes
Decision: 43 COM 8
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value

Paragraph 79

“Properties nominated under criteria (i) to (vi) must meet the conditions of authenticity. Annex 4 which includes the Nara Document on Authenticity, provides a practical basis for examining the authenticity of such properties and is summarized below.”

Theme: 2.2.3 - Authenticity
Source: OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value

Paragraph 80

“The ability to understand the value attributed to the heritage depends on the degree to which information sources about this value may be understood as credible or truthful. Knowledge and understanding of these sources of information, in relation to original and subsequent characteristics of the cultural heritage, and their meaning as accumulated over time, are the requisite bases for assessing all aspects of authenticity.”

Theme: 2.2.3 - Authenticity
Source: OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value

Paragraph 81

“Judgments about value attributed to cultural heritage, as well as the credibility of related information sources, may differ from culture to culture, and even within the same culture. The respect due to all cultures requires that cultural heritage must be considered and judged primarily within the cultural contexts to which it belongs.”
Theme: 2.2.3 - Authenticity
Source: OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value

Paragraph 84

“The use of all these sources permits elaboration of the specific artistic, historic, social, and scientific dimensions of the cultural heritage being examined. "Information sources" are defined as all physical, written, oral, and figurative sources, which make it possible to know the nature, specificities, meaning, and history of the cultural heritage.”

Theme: 2.2.3 - Authenticity
Source: OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value

Paragraph 85

“When the conditions of authenticity are considered in preparing a nomination for a property, the State Party should first identify all of the applicable significant attributes of authenticity. The statement of authenticity should assess the degree to which authenticity is present in, or expressed by, each of these significant attributes.”
Theme: 2.2.3 - Authenticity
Source: OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value

Paragraph 86

“In relation to authenticity, the reconstruction of archaeological remains or historic buildings or districts is justifiable only in exceptional circumstances. Reconstruction is acceptable only on the basis of complete and detailed documentation and to no extent on conjecture.”
Theme: 2.2.3 - Authenticity
Source: OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value
(iv) "The authenticity of a cultural property remains an essential criterion."
Theme: 2.2.3 - Authenticity
Decision: 3 COM XI.35
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee recommends paying particular attention to the conservation of authenticity and to inaccurate reconstructions and the risk of over-interpretation, with regard to restoration and development works, including architectural restorations and of technical historical reconstructions (based on Case law on decisions on Nominations).
Theme: 2.2.3 - Authenticity
See for examples Decisions:  37 COM 8B.41 38 COM 8B.34
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee encourages the use of traditional materials and skills in restoration works and interventions (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme: 2.2.3 - Authenticity
See for examples Decisions:  34 COM 7B.53 38 COM 7B.52 40 COM 7B.41 41 COM 7B.46 43 COM 7A.33 43 COM 7B.76
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value
2.2.5 - Protection and management
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee requests to ensure the management of a serial property as a unified whole, with an effective and explicit operational coordination between management plans existing for individual component parts of the site and the overall management plan for the property (based on case law on decisions on Nomination).
Theme: 2.2.5.3 - Management systems
See for examples Decisions:  40 COM 8B.16 43 COM 8B.38 44 COM 8B.25 44 COM 8B.15
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value
2.2.5 - Protection and management

Paragraph 108

“Each nominated property should have an appropriate management plan or other documented management system which must specify how the Outstanding Universal Value of a property should be preserved, preferably through participatory means.”

Theme: 2.2.5.3 - Management systems
Source: OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value
2.2.5 - Protection and management

Paragraph 109

“The purpose of a management system is to ensure the effective protection of the nominated property for present and future generations.”

Theme: 2.2.5.3 - Management systems
Source: OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value
2.2.5 - Protection and management

Paragraph 110

“An effective management system depends on the type, characteristics and needs of the nominated property and its cultural and natural context. Management systems may vary according to different cultural perspectives, the resources available and other factors. They may incorporate traditional practices, existing urban or regional planning instruments, and other planning control mechanisms, both formal and informal. Impact assessments for proposed interventions are essential for all World Heritage properties.”

Theme: 2.2.5.3 - Management systems
Source: OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value
2.2.5 - Protection and management

Paragraph 111

“In recognizing the diversity mentioned above, common elements of an effective management system could include:

a) a thorough shared understanding of the property, its universal, national and local values and its socio-ecological context by all stakeholders, including local communities and indigenous peoples;

b) a respect for diversity, equity, gender equality and human rights and the use of inclusive and participatory planning and stakeholder consultation processes;

c) a cycle of planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and feedback;

d) an assessment of the vulnerabilities of the property to social, economic, environmental and other pressures and changes, including disasters and climate change, as well as the monitoring of the impacts of trends and proposed interventions;

e) the development of mechanisms for the involvement and coordination of the various activities between different partners and stakeholders;

f) the allocation of necessary resources;

g) capacity building;

h) an accountable, transparent description of how the management system functions."

Theme: 2.2.5.3 - Management systems
Source: OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value
2.2.5 - Protection and management

Paragraph 112

“Effective management involves a cycle of short, medium and long-term actions to protect, conserve and present the nominated property. An integrated approach to planning and management is essential to guide the evolution of properties over time and to ensure maintenance of all aspects of their Outstanding Universal Value. This approach goes beyond the property to include any buffer zone(s), as well as the broader setting. The broader setting may relate to the property’s topography, natural and built environment, and other elements such as infrastructure, land use patterns, spatial organization, and visual relationships. It may also include related social and cultural practices, economic processes and other intangible dimensions of heritage such as perceptions and associations. Management of the broader setting is related to its role in supporting the Outstanding Universal Value. Its effective management may also contribute to sustainable development, through harnessing the reciprocal benefits for heritage and society.”

Theme: 2.2.5.3 - Management systems
Source: OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value
2.2.5 - Protection and management

Paragraph 117

“States Parties are responsible for implementing effective management activities for a World Heritage property. States Parties should do so in close collaboration with property managers, the agency with management authority and other partners, local communities and indigenous peoples, rights-holders and stakeholders in property management, by developing, when appropriate, equitable governance arrangements, collaborative management systems and redress mechanisms.”
Theme: 2.2.5.3 - Management systems
Source: OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value
2.2.5 - Protection and management

Paragraph 118

“The Committee recommends that States Parties include disaster, climate change and other risk preparedness as an element in their World Heritage site management plans and training strategies.”

Theme: 2.2.5.3 - Management systems
Source: OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

Paragraph 132

3. Justification for Inscription

“[For a nomination to be considered as “complete”, the following requirements (see format in Annex 5) are to be met:] (…) In section 3.2, a comparative analysis of the nominated property in relation to similar properties, whether or not on the World Heritage List, both at the national and international levels, shall be provided. The comparative analysis shall explain the importance of the nominated property in its national and international context."

Theme: 2.6 - Comparative studies
Source: WHC.21/01 Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.21/01 2021)
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
(ii) "In its justification of the outstanding universal value of the property nominated, each State should, whenever possible, undertake a sufficiently wide comparison."
Theme: 2.6 - Comparative studies
Decision: 3 COM XI.35
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

III. COMPARATIVE ANALYSES

7. "[The World Heritage Committee] decides that comparative analyses by States Parties as part of the nomination dossier shall be undertaken in relation to similar properties, whether or not on the World Heritage List, both at the national and international levels."

Theme: 2.6 - Comparative studies
Decision: 7 EXT.COM 4A
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee recommends undertaking a deep comparative analysis in order to demonstrate the Outstanding Universal Value of the property by fully assessing the relative values of the nominated property against other sites (based on Case law on decisions on Nominations).
Theme: 2.6 - Comparative studies
See for examples Decisions:  34 COM 8B.7 34 COM 8B.3 35 COM 8B.16 36 COM 8B.35 37 COM 8B.21 37 COM 8B.17 37 COM 8B.11 38 COM 8B.22 38 COM 8B.18 38 COM 8B.17
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.7 - Types of World Heritage properties

Paragraph 134

“A nominated property may occur:

a) on the territory of a single State Party, or

b) on the territory of all concerned States Parties having adjacent borders (transboundary property).”

Theme: 2.7.2 - Transboundary and transnational properties
Source: OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.7 - Types of World Heritage properties

Paragraph 135

“Wherever possible, transboundary nominations should be prepared and submitted by States Parties jointly in conformity with Article 11.3 of the Convention. It is highly recommended that the States Parties concerned establish a joint management committee or similar body to oversee the management of the whole of a transboundary property.”

Theme: 2.7.2 - Transboundary and transnational properties
Source: OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.7 - Types of World Heritage properties

Paragraph 136

“Extensions to an existing World Heritage property located in one State Party may be proposed to become transboundary properties.”

Theme: 2.7.2 - Transboundary and transnational properties
Source: OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.7 - Types of World Heritage properties

 “II. TRANSBOUNDARY AND TRANSNATIONAL NOMINATIONS

6) [The World Heritage Committee] decides to consider as:

(a) transboundary nomination, only a property jointly nominated as such, in conformity with Article 11.3 of the Convention, by all concerned States Parties having adjacent borders;

(b) transnational nomination, a serial nomination of properties located in the territory of different States Parties, which need not be contiguous and which are nominated with the consent of all States Parties concerned”.

Theme: 2.7.2 - Transboundary and transnational properties
Decision: 7 EXT.COM 4A
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.7 - Types of World Heritage properties

3. "[The World Heritage Committee] aware of the need to specify the submission modalities for the nomination of transboundary or transnational serial properties on the World Heritage List,

4. (…):

a) The States Parties co-authors of a transboundary or transnational serial nomination can choose, amongst themselves and with a common understanding, the State Party which will be bearing this nomination; and

b) This nomination can be registered exclusively within the ceiling of the bearing State Party."

Theme: 2.7.2 - Transboundary and transnational properties
Decision: 29 COM 18A

The World Heritage Policy Compendium was elaborated thanks to the generous contribution of the Government of Australia.

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