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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

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

2.2.5 - 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 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

2.2 - Outstanding Universal Value

2.2.6 - Boundaries and buffer zones

Paragraph 165

“If a State Party wishes to significantly modify the boundary of a property already on the World Heritage List, the State Party shall submit this proposal as if it were a new nomination (including the requirement to be previously included on the Tentative List – see paragraph 63 and 65). This re-nomination shall be presented by 1 February and will be evaluated in the full year and a half cycle of evaluation according to the procedures and timetable outlined in paragraph 168. This provision applies to extensions, as well as reductions.”
Theme:  2.2.6.4 - Significant modifications to the 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

2.7 - Types of World Heritage properties

2.7.4 - Cultural Landscapes

Paragraph 47

“Cultural landscapes are cultural properties and represent the "combined works of nature and of man" designated in Article 1 of the Convention. They are illustrative of the evolution of human society and settlement over time, under the influence of the physical constraints and/or opportunities presented by their natural environment and of successive social, economic and cultural forces, both external and internal.”

Theme:  2.7.4.1 - General
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

2.7.4 - Cultural Landscapes

Annex 3

7. “[Cultural Landscapes] … should be selected on the basis both of their Outstanding Universal Value and of their representativity in terms of a clearly defined geo‑cultural region and also for their capacity to illustrate the essential and distinct cultural elements of such regions”.

9. “Cultural landscapes often reflect specific techniques of sustainable land‑use, considering the characteristics and limits of the natural environment they are established in, and a specific spiritual relation to nature. Protection of cultural landscapes can contribute to modern techniques of sustainable land‑use and can maintain or enhance natural values in the landscape. The continued existence of traditional forms of land‑use supports biological diversity in many regions of the world”.

Theme:  2.7.4.1 - General
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

2.7.4 - Cultural Landscapes

Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage committee recommends addressing landscape surveys and the historic evolution of the landscape, as a holistic reflection of history and cultural traditions and of the interaction between culture and nature, including the way the landscape has been shaped by human practices and natural resources (based on Case law on decisions on Nominations).
Theme:  2.7.4.1 - General
See for examples Decisions:  31 COM 8B.33 31 COM 8B.28
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