Policy Compendium

Themes2.2.6.1 - Boundariesclose2.7.4 - Cultural Landscapesclose2.7.3 - Serial propertiesclose2.7.1 - Cultural, Natural and Mixed Properties close2.2.5 - Protection and managementclose2.2.4 - Integrityclose2.2.3 - Authenticityclose2.2.2 - World Heritage criteriaclose2.4 - Upstream Processclose
Select source(s): 0
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

Paragraph 87

“All properties nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List shall satisfy the conditions of integrity.”
Theme: 2.2.4 - Integrity
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 88

“Integrity is a measure of the wholeness and intactness of the natural and/or cultural heritage and its attributes. Examining the conditions of integrity, therefore requires assessing the extent to which the property:

a) includes all elements necessary to express its Outstanding Universal Value;

b) is of adequate size to ensure the complete representation of the features and processes which convey the property’s significance;

c) suffers from adverse effects of development and/or neglect.

This should be presented in a statement of integrity.”

Theme: 2.2.4 - Integrity
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 89

“For properties nominated under criteria (i) to (vi), the physical fabric of the property and/or its significant features should be in good condition, and the impact of deterioration processes controlled. A significant proportion of the elements necessary to convey the totality of the value conveyed by the property should be included. Relationships and dynamic functions present in cultural landscapes, historic towns or other living properties essential to their distinctive character should also be maintained.”
Theme: 2.2.4 - Integrity
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 90

“For all properties nominated under criteria (vii) - (x), bio-physical processes and landform features should be relatively intact. However, it is recognized that no area is totally pristine and that all natural areas are in a dynamic state, and to some extent involve contact with people. Biological diversity and cultural diversity can be closely linked and interdependent and human activities, including those of traditional societies, local communities and indigenous peoples, often occur in natural areas. These activities may be consistent with the Outstanding Universal Value of the area where they are ecologically sustainable.”

Theme: 2.2.4 - Integrity
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
2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value

Paragraph 91

“In addition, for properties nominated under criteria (vii) to (x), a corresponding condition of integrity has been defined for each criterion.”

Theme: 2.2.4 - Integrity
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
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee recommends providing a more detailed inventory of the attributes and elements of the property (based on Case law on decisions on Nominations).
Theme: 2.2.4 - Integrity
See for examples Decisions:  32 COM 8B.28 33 COM 8B.32 34 COM 8B.20 34 COM 8B.11
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 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 45

"Cultural and natural heritage are defined in Articles 1 and 2 of the World Heritage Convention.

Article 1

For the purposes of this Convention, the following shall be considered as "cultural heritage";

- monuments: architectural works, works of monumental sculpture and painting, elements or structures of an archaeological nature, inscriptions, cave dwellings and combinations of features, which are of Outstanding Universal Value from the point of view of history, art or science;

- groups of buildings: groups of separate or connected buildings which, because of their architecture, their homogeneity or their place in the landscape, are of Outstanding Universal Value from the point of view of history, art or science;

- sites: works of man or the combined works of nature and of man, and areas including archaeological sites which are of Outstanding Universal Value from the historical, aesthetic, ethnological or anthropological points of view.

Article 2

For the purposes of this Convention, the following shall be considered as "natural heritage":

- natural features consisting of physical and biological formations or groups of such formations, which are of Outstanding Universal Value from the aesthetic or scientific point of view;

geological and physiographical formations and precisely delineated areas which constitute the habitat of threatened species of animals and plants of Outstanding Universal Value from the point of view of science or conservation;

- natural sites or precisely delineated natural areas of Outstanding Universal Value from the point of view of science, conservation or natural beauty."

Theme: 2.7.1 - Cultural, Natural and Mixed 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 46

“Properties shall be considered as "mixed cultural and natural heritage" if they satisfy a part or the whole of the definitions of both cultural and natural heritage laid out in Articles 1 and 2 of the Convention.

Theme: 2.7.1 - Cultural, Natural and Mixed 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
4. "[The World Heritage Committee] reiterates that due to the complexity of mixed site nominations and their evaluation, States Parties should ideally seek prior advice from IUCN and ICOMOS, if possible at least two years before a potential nomination is submitted, in compliance with Paragraph 122 of the Operational Guidelines."
Theme: 2.7.1 - Cultural, Natural and Mixed Properties
Decision: 41 COM 9B
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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