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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

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 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

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

2.2.5 - Protection and management

Paragraph 98

“Legislative and regulatory measures at national and local levels should assure the protection of the property from social, economic and other pressures or changes that might negatively impact the Outstanding Universal Value, including the integrity and/or authenticity of the property. States Parties should also assure the full and effective implementation of such measures.”
Theme:  2.2.5.2 - Legislative, regulatory and contractual measures for protection
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 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

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

2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value

2.2.6 - Boundaries and buffer zones

Paragraph 103

“Wherever necessary for the proper protection of the property, an adequate buffer zone should be provided.”

Theme:  2.2.6.2 - Buffer Zones
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 104

“For the purposes of effective protection of the nominated property, a buffer zone is an area surrounding the nominated property which has complementary legal and/or customary restrictions placed on its use and development to give an added layer of protection to the property. This should include the immediate setting of the nominated property, important views and other areas or attributes that are functionally important as a support to the property and its protection. The area constituting the buffer zone should be determined in each case through appropriate mechanisms. Details on the size, characteristics and authorized uses of a buffer zone, as well as a map indicating the precise boundaries of the property and its buffer zone, should be provided in the nomination.”

Theme:  2.2.6.2 - Buffer Zones
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 105

“A clear explanation of how the buffer zone protects the property should also be provided.”

Theme:  2.2.6.2 - Buffer Zones
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 106

“Where no buffer zone is proposed, the nomination should include a statement as to why a buffer zone is not required.”

Theme:  2.2.6.2 - Buffer Zones
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 107

“Although buffer zones are not part of the nominated property, any modifications to or creation of buffer zones subsequent to inscription of a property on the World Heritage List should be approved by the World Heritage Committee using the procedure for a minor boundary modification (see paragraph 164 and Annex 11). The creation of buffer zones subsequent to inscription is normally considered to be a minor boundary modification.”

Theme:  2.2.6.2 - Buffer Zones
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 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:  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

(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 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

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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