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World Heritage
POLICY COMPENDIUM

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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

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

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
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