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World Heritage
POLICY COMPENDIUM

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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

2.2.5 - Protection and management

Paragraph 119

“World Heritage properties may sustain biological and cultural diversity and provide ecosystem services and other benefits, which may contribute to environmental and cultural sustainability. Properties may support a variety of ongoing and proposed uses that are ecologically and culturally sustainable and which may enhance the quality of life and well-being of communities concerned. The State Party and its partners must ensure their use is equitable and fully respects the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. For some properties, human use would not be appropriate. Legislation, policies and strategies affecting World Heritage properties should ensure the protection of the Outstanding Universal Value, support the wider conservation of natural and cultural heritage, and promote and encourage the effective, inclusive and equitable participation of the communities, indigenous peoples and other stakeholders concerned with the property as necessary conditions to its sustainable protection, conservation, management and presentation.”

Theme:  2.2.5.4 - Sustainable use
Source:  OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)
Threats:  Changes in traditional ways of life and knowledge system Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation Indigenous hunting, gathering and collecting Ritual / spiritual / religious and associative uses Society's valuing of heritage

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

“The tentative list of cultural and natural sites should be used in the future as a planning tool with a view to reducing any imbalances in the World Heritage List”.

“Regional Plans of Action should be updated and developed within the framework of the Global Strategy”.

Theme:  2.3 - Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List
Source:  Working Group on the Representativity of the World Heritage List

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

Paragraph 54

“The Committee seeks to establish a representative, balanced and credible World Heritage List in conformity with the four Strategic Objectives adopted by the Committee at its 26th session (Budapest, 2002).”

Theme:  2.3 - Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List
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 55

“The Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List is designed to identify and fill the major gaps in the World Heritage List. It does this by encouraging more countries to become States Parties to the Convention and to develop Tentative Lists (…) and nominations of properties for inscription on the World Heritage List.”

Theme:  2.3 - Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List
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 57

“All efforts should be made to maintain a reasonable balance between cultural and natural heritage on the World Heritage List.”

Theme:  2.3 - Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List
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 59

“To promote the establishment of a representative, balanced and credible World Heritage List, States Parties are requested to consider whether their heritage is already well represented on the List and if so to slow down their rate of submission of further nominations (…)”.

Theme:  2.3 - Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List
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 71

“Tentative Lists should be drawn selectively and on the basis of evidence that supports potential Outstanding Universal Value. States Parties are encouraged to consult the analyses of both the World Heritage List and Tentative Lists prepared at the request of the Committee by ICOMOS and IUCN to identify the gaps in the World Heritage List. These analyses could enable States Parties to compare themes, regions, geo-cultural groupings and bio-geographic provinces for prospective World Heritage properties (…).”

Theme:  2.3 - Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List
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 72

“In addition, States Parties are encouraged to consult the specific thematic studies carried out by the Advisory Bodies.”

Theme:  2.3 - Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List
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 74

“To implement the Global Strategy, cooperative efforts in capacity building and training for diverse groups of beneficiaries may be necessary to assist States Parties in acquiring and/or consolidating expertise in the preparation, updating and harmonization of their Tentative List and the preparation of nominations.”

Theme:  2.3 - Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List
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

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

1. “Agrees to give its full support for the implementation of the Convention, in the States Parties whose heritage is still under-represented on the List,

2. Recognizes the interest of all the States Parties and the advisory bodies in preserving the authority of the 1972 Convention, by improving, through appropriate means, the representativity of the World Heritage List which must reflect the diversity of all cultures and ecosystems of all regions,

3. Endorses the objectives of the Global Strategy while reaffirming the sovereign rights of the States Parties and the sovereign role of the General Assembly”.

Theme:  2.3 - Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List
Source:  WHC-99/CONF.206/7 Summary Record of the 12th General Assembly of States Parties

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

2. "The Global Strategy proposed specifically to ‘move away from a purely architectural view of the cultural heritage of humanity towards one which was much more anthropological, multi-functional and universal".

4. "(…) those aspects of the Global Strategy directly relevant to improving those three characteristics attributed to the List. As such, it is important to recall that:

  • Representativity refers to: ensuring representation on the World Heritage List of properties of outstanding universal value from all regions (2000 Working Group on the Representativity of the World Heritage List);

  • Balance refers to: ensuring that key bio-geographical regions or events in the history of life are reflected in the World Heritage List (Expert Meeting Parc de La Vanoise, 1996; WHC.96/CONF.201/INF.08);

  • Credibility refers to: ensuring a rigorous application of the criteria established by the Committee for both inscription and management, and ensuring representativity and balance of sites, in order that the World Heritage List as a whole is not undermined (Expert Meeting Parc de La Vanoise, 1996; WHC.96/CONF.201/INF.08; and as reviewed during the development of the 1992 ICOMOS Global Study)."

Theme:  2.3 - Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List
Source:  WHC.07/16.GA/9 Progress in the implementation of the Global strategy for a representative, balanced and credible World Heritage List

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

IX.22 "(…)

2) The Committee stressed the urgent need to establish a representative World Heritage List and considered it imperative to ensure more participation of those States Parties whose heritage is currently underrepresented on the World Heritage List. The Committee requested the Centre and the advisory bodies to actively consult with these States Parties to encourage and support their active participation in the implementation of the Global Strategy for a credible and representative World Heritage List through the concrete regional actions described in the Global Strategy Action Plan adopted by the Committee at its twenty-second session".
Theme:  2.3 - Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List
Decision:  22 COM IX1

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

X.2 "(…) The Committee, in the light of earlier discussions:

- invites States Parties to nominate types of sites presently under-represented on the World Heritage List;
- invites States Parties attending the World Heritage Committee and its Bureau to be represented by both cultural and natural heritage specialists;
- requests States Parties to communicate regularly to the Centre updated addresses of the national institutions primarily responsible for cultural and natural heritage;
- asks the World Heritage Centre to undertake efforts to strengthen the links to natural heritage institutions in States Parties to the Convention;
- requests the Centre to work on an overall global strategy for natural heritage in close cooperation with IUCN and ICOMOS."
Theme:  2.3 - Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List
Decision:  19 COM X

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

1. "(…) [The World Heritage Committee decides to focus on] improving the geographic distribution of properties on the World Heritage List (…)."
Theme:  2.3 - Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List
Decision:  27 COM 14

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

15. "[The World Heritage Committee] (…) recommends that States Parties already well represented on the World Heritage List should exercise restraint in bringing forward new nominations in order to achieve a better balance of the List."
Theme:  2.3 - Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List
Decision:  35 COM 12B

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

9. "[The World Heritage Committee] Invites the Advisory Bodies to engage in effective and constructive dialogue with States Parties in the preparation of Tentative Lists, in the nomination process, including before the publication of recommendations, and post inscription (including monitoring missions), with the aim of achieving more effective credibility, transparency and better implementation of the Convention and Sustainable Development Goals."
Theme:  2.3 - Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List
Decision:  43 COM 5E

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

Paragraph 122

"122. The Preliminary Assessment is a mandatory desk-based process for all sites that may be nominated to the World Heritage List and is undertaken following a request by the relevant State(s) Party(ies). Information included in the Preliminary Assessment request should build on the information provided in the Tentative List and also on any Upstream Process advice and/or Preparatory Assistance and its outcome must be provided at least one year before a full nomination dossier can be submitted by the State(s) Party(ies).

In particular:

a) The Preliminary Assessment provides States Parties with an opportunity for enhanced dialogue with the Advisory Bodies, and it will help to establish the feasibility of a potential nomination and avoid the use of resources in the preparation of nominations that may be unlikely to succeed. 

b) The Preliminary Assessment provides guidance on the potential of a site to justify Outstanding Universal Value, including integrity and/or authenticity, and, if information is provided, on the requirements for protection and management. The decision to prepare a full nomination dossier, regardless of the outcome of the Preliminary Assessment, will rest with the concerned State(s) Party(ies).

c) States Parties shall submit their Preliminary Assessment request to the World Heritage Centre according to the timetable set in paragraph 168, and using the standard format provided in Annex 3. The request shall be submitted in English or French, in paper and electronic formats (Word and/or PDF format) and in the required number of printed copies (same as for nomination dossiers): 2 identical copies for cultural and natural sites, and 3 identical copies for mixed sites and cultural landscapes.

d) On receipt of Preliminary Assessment requests from States Parties, the Secretariat will acknowledge receipt, check for completeness (in compliance with Annex 3) and register them. The Secretariat will forward, according to the timetable set in paragraph 168, complete Preliminary Assessment requests to the relevant Advisory Body(ies) for desk review. If necessary, the Advisory Body(ies) will request any additional information from the State(s) Party(ies), which should be submitted to the Secretariat. From the commencement of the Preliminary Assessment, the Advisory Body(ies) will initiate a dialogue with the concerned State(s) Party(ies) to establish a point of contact and agree on the process of exchange. States Parties are encouraged to appoint a technical focal point to ensure that dialogue is effective throughout the process, and to ensure that the conclusions of the Preliminary Assessment are communicated to the relevant stakeholders.

e) The Preliminary Assessment will be undertaken by ICOMOS and IUCN on a joint basis whenever relevant, and will be an independent desk review, which will include consultation with expert reviewers.  No mission to the site will be undertaken (see Annex 6). Based on available information, the conclusions of the assessment will include an indication of whether the site may have potential to justify Outstanding Universal Value. If so, specific guidance and advice, in the form of recommendations, will be provided to assist the State(s) Party(ies) in the development of the nomination dossier. The Preliminary Assessment Report by the Advisory Bodies shall be provided to the State(s) Party(ies) via the Secretariat in one of the two working languages of the Convention. 

f) The Preliminary Assessment Report by the Advisory Bodies is relevant for up to 5 years. A new Preliminary Assessment is required if a nomination is not submitted by 1 February on the fifth year following the transmission of the Report to the concerned State(s) Party(ies). 

g) A State Party may withdraw a Preliminary Assessment request it has submitted, at any time.  In such circumstances, any further consideration of a possible nomination will need to be subject to a new request for a Preliminary Assessment.

h) At each session of the World Heritage Committee, the Secretariat will provide a list of Preliminary Assessments requests received and those undertaken, but will not indicate the guidance given by the Advisory Bodies to the concerned State(s) Party(ies) in a completed Preliminary Assessment. However, once a nomination is submitted, the related Preliminary Assessment Report shall be annexed to it.

i) Both Upstream Process and Preliminary Assessment imply guidance at an early stage, prior to the preparation of a nomination, however they are different mechanisms. The Upstream Process is not mandatory. The Preliminary Assessment is a mandatory phase possibly allowing access to the preparation of a nomination dossier. Within an Upstream Process a visit to the site may be possible, while the Preliminary Assessment is carried out exclusively on the basis of a desk review.  The Upstream Process may provide general advice, in relation to revision of a Tentative List, while the Preliminary Assessment is undertaken on a single site (whether serial or not) already included on a State Party’s Tentative List. While in general the costs of Upstream Process requests are borne by the requesting State(s) Party(ies), the costs of Preliminary Assessments, being part of the nomination process, are included in the related evaluation process (see also Paragraph 168bis). In terms of sequence, Upstream Process advice should precede the Preliminary Assessment."
Theme:  2.4 - Upstream Process
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

4. "[The World Heritage Committee] (…) recalls that, in order to be effective, the upstream support should ideally take place at an early stage, preferably at the moment of the preparation or revision of the States Parties’ Tentative Lists."
Theme:  2.4 - Upstream Process
Decision:  41 COM 9A

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
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