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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 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 119

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

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

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

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

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

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

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

Paragraph 54

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

Theme:  2.3 - Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List
Source:  OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

Paragraph 55

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

Theme:  2.3 - Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List
Source:  OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

Paragraph 57

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

Theme:  2.3 - Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List
Source:  OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

Paragraph 59

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

Theme:  2.3 - Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List
Source:  OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

Paragraph 71

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

Theme:  2.3 - Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List
Source:  OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

Paragraph 72

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

Theme:  2.3 - Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List
Source:  OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

Paragraph 74

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

Theme:  2.3 - Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List
Source:  OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.19/01 - 10 July 2019)

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

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

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

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

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

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

IX.22 "(…)

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

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

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

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

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

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

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

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

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

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

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

Paragraph 122

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

In particular:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

i) Both Upstream Process and Preliminary Assessment imply guidance at an early stage, prior to the preparation of a nomination, however they are different mechanisms. The Upstream Process is not mandatory. The Preliminary Assessment is a mandatory phase possibly allowing access to the preparation of a nomination dossier. Within an Upstream Process a visit to the site may be possible, while the Preliminary Assessment is carried out exclusively on the basis of a desk review.  The Upstream Process may provide general advice, in relation to revision of a Tentative List, while the Preliminary Assessment is undertaken on a single site (whether serial or not) already included on a State Party’s Tentative List. While in general the costs of Upstream Process requests are borne by the requesting State(s) Party(ies), the costs of Preliminary Assessments, being part of the nomination process, are included in the related evaluation process (see also Paragraph 168bis). In terms of sequence, Upstream Process advice should precede the Preliminary Assessment."
Theme:  2.4 - Upstream Process
Source:  WHC.21/01 Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.21/01 2021)

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

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

2 - Policies Regarding CREDIBILITY of the World Heritage List

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

2.7.4 - Cultural Landscapes

"The World Heritage Committee, (…)

4. Encourages States Parties to integrate the notion of historic urban landscape in nomination proposals and in the elaboration of management plans of properties nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List;

5. Also encourages States Parties to integrate the principles expressed in the Vienna Memorandum into their heritage conservation policies;

6. Requests the Advisory Bodies and the World Heritage Centre to take into account the conservation of the historic urban landscape when reviewing any potential impact on the integrity of an existing World Heritage property, and during the nomination evaluation process of new sites."

Theme:  2.7.4.2 - Historic Urban Landscapes
Decision:  29 COM 5D
29
Extracts
2
Case laws
9
Decisions
3
Documents