Policy Compendium

Themes2.2.6.1 - Boundariesclose2.7.4 - Cultural Landscapesclose2.7.3 - Serial propertiesclose2.2.5 - Protection and managementclose2.2.2 - 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
2.2.6 - Boundaries and buffer zones

Paragraph 99

“The delineation of boundaries is an essential requirement in the establishment of effective protection of nominated properties. Boundaries should be drawn to incorporate all the attributes that convey the Outstanding Universal Value and to ensure the integrity and/or authenticity of the property.”

Theme: 2.2.6.1 - Boundaries
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
2.2.6 - Boundaries and buffer zones

Paragraph 100

“For properties nominated under criteria (i) - (vi), boundaries should be drawn to include all those areas and attributes which are a direct tangible expression of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, as well as those areas which in the light of future research possibilities offer potential to contribute to and enhance such understanding.”

Theme: 2.2.6.1 - Boundaries
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
2.2.6 - Boundaries and buffer zones

Paragraph 101

“For properties nominated under criteria (vii) - (x), boundaries should reflect the spatial requirements of habitats, species, processes or phenomena that provide the basis for their inscription on the World Heritage List. The boundaries should include sufficient areas immediately adjacent to the area of Outstanding Universal Value in order to protect the property's heritage values from direct effect of human encroachments and impacts of resource use outside of the nominated area.”

Theme: 2.2.6.1 - Boundaries
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
2.2.6 - Boundaries and buffer zones

Paragraph 102

“The boundaries of the nominated property may coincide with one or more existing or proposed protected areas, such as national parks or nature reserves, biosphere reserves or protected cultural or historic districts or other areas and territories. While such established areas for protection may contain several management zones, only some of those zones may satisfy requirements for inscription.”

Theme: 2.2.6.1 - Boundaries
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
2.2.6 - Boundaries and buffer zones
7. "[The World Heritage Committee] considers that modifications to boundaries of World Heritage properties that are related to mining activities should be considered through the procedure for significant modifications of boundaries, in accordance with paragraph 165 of the Operational Guidelines, given the potential impact of such projects on Outstanding Universal Value."
Theme: 2.2.6.1 - Boundaries
Decision: 35 COM 8B.46
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
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: 2.7.3 - Serial properties
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
2.7 - Types of World Heritage properties

Paragraph 137

“Serial properties will include two or more component parts related by clearly defined links:

a) Component parts should reflect cultural, social or functional links over time that provide, where relevant, landscape, ecological, evolutionary or habitat connectivity.

b) Each component part should contribute to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property as a whole in a substantial, scientific, readily defined and discernible way, and may include, inter alia, intangible attributes. The resulting Outstanding Universal Value should be easily understood and communicated.

c) Consistently, and in order to avoid an excessive fragmentation of component parts, the process of nomination of the property, including the selection of the component parts, should take fully into account the overall manageability and coherence of the property (see paragraph 114).

and provided it is the series as a whole – and not necessarily the individual parts of it – which are of Outstanding Universal Value.”

Theme: 2.7.3 - Serial 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 138

“A serial nominated property may occur:

a) on the territory of a single State Party (serial national property); or

b) within the territory of different States Parties, which need not be contiguous and is nominated with the consent of all States Parties concerned (serial transnational property).”

Theme: 2.7.3 - Serial 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 139

“Serial nominations, whether from one State Party or multiple States, may be submitted for evaluation over several nomination cycles, provided that the first property nominated is of Outstanding Universal Value in its own right. States Parties planning serial nominations phased over several nomination cycles are encouraged to inform the Committee of their intention in order to ensure better planning.”

Theme: 2.7.3 - Serial 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

35. (i) “States Parties may propose in one single nomination several individual cultural properties, which may be in different geographical locations but which should:

- be linked because they belong to the same historic-cultural group, or

- be the subject of a single safeguarding project, or

- belong to the same type of property characteristic of the zone

(…)

Each State Party submits only the cultural properties situated on its territory (even if these properties belong to an ensemble which goes beyond its borders) but it may come to an agreement with another State Party in order to make a joint submission”.

Theme: 2.7.3 - Serial properties
Decision: 3 COM XI.35
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.7 - Types of World Heritage properties

19. "(...) 

(e) States Parties may propose in a single nomination a series of cultural properties in different geographical locations, provided that they are related because they belong : (i) to the same historico-cultural group or (ii) to the same type of property which is characteristic of the geographical zone and provided that it is the series as such and not its components taken individually, which is of outstanding universal value."

Theme: 2.7.3 - Serial properties
Decision: 4 COM VI.18-20
2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List
2.7 - Types of World Heritage properties

2. "[The World Heritage Committee notes] that some large complex serial transnational nominations may benefit from an agreed nomination strategy before their official submission, (…);

5. [The World Heritage Committee] emphasizes that, if and when, it takes note of a nomination strategy, this is not prejudicial and does not imply that the complex serial transnational nominations proposed would necessarily lead to an inscription on the World Heritage List."

Theme: 2.7.3 - Serial properties
Decision: 41 COM 8B.50

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