United nations educational, scientific and cultural organization convention concerning the protection of the world


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Document: WHC-02/CONF.202/10 Rev.1 (as amended)
1. The Director introduced the agenda item by noting that the text of document WHC-02/CONF.202/10 Rev contained some small technical errors: five sites in Table B were listed as cultural nominations, when they should have been presented as four mixed properties and one natural property; and one mixed site in Table D was also incorrectly identified as cultural. A revision to this document will be made available on the web site.
Status of Nominations
2. The Director of the World Heritage Centre explained that the four tables in document WHC-02/CONF.202/10 Rev presented the status of nominations received for 2003 and 2004. Table A showed all nominations that were "full and complete" or "almost complete" on 1 February 2002, which were transmitted to the Advisory Bodies in March 2002. The evaluation mission to all properties in Table A had been or were being scheduled, whether they were "almost complete" or "full and complete". Table B presented all "incomplete" nominations submitted before or on 1 February 2002. Of these, two nominations became "full and complete" after 1 February 2002: Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (India); and Takht-e-Soleyman (Iran)
3. The Director informed the Committee that the State Party of India had indicated that the nomination of Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka was its first priority nomination, and now that it was "full and complete", it requested that it replace the "almost complete" nomination of Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park in Table A.
4. The Delegate of India thanked the Director for his introduction, and explained why the State Party had submitted two nominations. Their objective had been to follow the recommendation of the 24th session of the Committee in Cairns (December 2000) to nominate under-represented types of sites, of which the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka was a prime example in India. Because of the extensive amount of work involved, however, the State Party also submitted the nomination for the Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, in case they had been unable to complete work on the Bhimbetka nomination in time.
5. The second nomination in Table B which had since been made "full and complete" after the 1 February 2002 deadline was the nomination of Takht-e-'Soleyman from the Government of Iran. The State Party had requested that it also be presented for review by the Committee in 2003. This nomination, the Director noted, would be the first nomination submitted by the Government of Iran in two decades.
6. The Observer from Iran thanked the Director for his comments, and noted that the nomination had been officially received by the World Heritage Centre in November 2001 and had been the subject of a mission by the Centre in January 2002. Since its submission, there had been numerous discussions between the Centre and the Iranian expert who prepared the nomination in order to make the nomination "full and complete." The Observer recalled that since one of the objectives of the Cairns decision had been to improve the representativity of the List, notably through inclusion of properties from countries that were under-represented, he asked that the Committee include Takht-e-'Soleyman among the nominations to be examined by the Committee in 2003.
7. Concerning the nominations presented in the Table D - nominations submitted after 1 February 2002, the Delegate of Zimbabwe noted that the nomination of Matobo Hills, received by the World Heritage Centre two weeks after the deadline, had also been made "full and complete" in the weeks since its submission. He added that a first draft had been submitted to the Centre in November 2001 as a natural site but had to be resubmitted as a cultural landscape. Therefore the State Party had not been able to submit the completed nomination until 19 February 2002.
Tasks before the Committee concerning this agenda item
8. The Chairperson defined the two tasks that must be accomplished under this agenda item:
(i) Adoption of the List of new nominations to be examined in 2003, including, if appropriate, the three nominations from India, Iran and Zimbabwe; and

(ii) A decision on how to manage the nominations for 2003 and 2004.

List of Nominations to examine in 2003 - Definition of "complete" and "incomplete" nominations
9. As a preliminary measure, the Chairperson asked ICOMOS whether, should the Committee so decide, ICOMOS could accommodate the additional nominations into its schedule. The Advisory Body representative confirmed that if the Committee decided affirmatively at this session, they would be able to carry out the new evaluations requested.
10. During the debate, several delegates expressed their opposition to the change in the rule which allowed nominations that were incomplete at the deadline of 1 February to nevertheless be accepted for examination by the Committee. The Delegate of Saint Lucia asked on what ground the exceptions would be made. Delegates of Lebanon, Thailand, Greece and Belgium asked that the principle should be examined before any exceptions be made.
11. The Delegate of India agreed upon enforcing of the rules and procedures but drew the attention of the Committee on the fact that the whole procedure and its implications had not been carefully considered and that there was a lack of clarity. She explained that her request to switch the two nominations was in full agreement with the principle of the Cairns decision to address the issue of underrepresented categories of heritage and that her understanding was that there was enough flexibility to allow this. To the question on what ground exceptions would be made, she replied that it was precisely intended to improve the representativity of the World Heritage List.
12. The Observer from Iran added that the Cairns decision was to be reviewed after two years of its implementation, which is now. He further stressed that enough time should be given to States parties to prepare their nominations.
13. The Delegate of Greece expressed concern about the definition of completeness as it was presented in the working document. "Complete" and "incomplete" were not terms used in the Operational Guidelines. In particular, she questioned whether the criterion used to define the difference between "almost complete" and "incomplete" ("without modification to the nomination text") was justifiable. She also called the attention of the Committee to the Working document's reference to a "complete" nomination requiring at least a "draft management plan pending approval". She stressed that the Committee should be presented with a final management plan, and not just a "draft" management plan, as had been the practice in the past.
14. The concerns about the categories "almost complete" and "incomplete" were shared by the Delegates of Thailand and Lebanon. The Delegate of Lebanon proposed to abolish the category "almost complete" in order to avoid similar discussions at all Committee sessions.
15. The Chairperson, noting the difficulties arising, proposed the Committee to abide by its former decision taken in Cairns and asked the Committee if it could accept the list of nominations to examine in 2003 as presented in table A with the three changes as proposed.
16. The Delegate of Nigeria observed that it was precisely the implementation of the Cairns decision causing difficulties. He stressed the importance of understanding the underlying principle in order to avoid problems in the future.
17. The Delegate of Greece warned against any confusion between the established rule requiring that nominations be complete by the 1 February deadline and the so called "Cairns decision" on representativity of the World Heritage List. The latter proposed a priority system for nominations if by the deadline of 1 February there were more than a given number of complete nominations, taking into account that States parties with a property on the List could only submit a single nomination a year. The Delegate of Greece further proposed that as a means of dealing with a transitional period, that the Committee accept the list as proposed in Table A, with the addition, on an exceptional basis, of the three nominations made complete since the deadline. (As this would include a substitution of one nomination of India from Table A, the list would only grow by two.)
18. The Chairperson noted that there were at present three categories ("complete", "incomplete" and "almost complete") and that several nominations had been completed after the 1 February deadline. He asked if the Committee could accept the proposal made by the Delegate of Greece to accept the list in Table A with the three changes as proposed, given that it would thus support the representativity of the World Heritage List.
19. The Delegate of Nigeria noted that additional information was required before the Committee could take a decision.
20. The Delegate of Saint Lucia spoke against making exceptions. The Committee should examine the three nominations separately. Furthermore, if an exception was to be made, the Committee should logically re-examine all nominations to decide whether they were complete or not.
21. The Delegate of Lebanon – with a view to conclude this debate - again suggested to abolish the category "almost complete", supported the proposal made by the Delegate of Greece and invited the Committee to focus rather on the representativity issue.
22. The Director of the Centre explained that the categories "complete" and "incomplete" were based on the Nomination format. The category of "almost complete"th as stated in Bureau working document WHC-02/CONF.201/3 and in paragraph II.1 of the Report of the 26th session of the Bureau, was developed to allow the Committee to examine more than the seven "full and complete" nominations in 2003. Due to the strict implementation of the rule that nominations be complete by the 1 February deadline and the new calendar for statutory meetingsst, a degree of flexibility would no longer be available. The category "almost complete" could be considered as a transition towards the new, more rigorous, system - in conformity with the spirit of the Cairns decision which was designed to increase the representativity of States Parties, regions and themes on the World Heritage List.
23. The Chairperson proposed the Committee to use only the two categories "complete" and "incomplete" in the future.
24. The Delegate of Thailand recalled the Committee's earlier decision that nominations be complete at the 1 February deadline. Building upon the Chairperson's proposal, he suggested to merge the two categories "complete" and "almost complete".
25. The Director of the Centre recalled that this year only 7 nominations were "complete" by 1 February.
26. The Chairperson emphasised the importance of clear rules. He asked the Committee whether it could agree to use only two categories in the future: "complete" and "incomplete". Taking into account the interventions made by the Delegates of Thailand and Greece, he referred to the application of paragraph 65 of the Operational Guidelines requiring that only complete nominations be examined in the following year.
27. The Delegate of India noted that the Committee was facing a difficult situation: the Cairns decision was based on a premise - completion of the analysis of the Lists - that had still not been completed. Consequently, if the Committee were to take the Cairns decision literally, without a certain amount of flexibility, then no nominations should be examined by the Committee until the analysis requested had been completed and approved.
28. The Delegate of Oman was not in favor of delaying for another year the nominations that were now complete.
29. The Delegate of Nigeria supported the intervention of the Delegate of Oman and suggested that the complete nominations be accepted as a way to deal with the transition period.
30. The Chairperson then proposed the following conclusions: all "complete" nominations would be examined in 2003; these nominations would include those of India, Iran and Zimbabwe; in the future only complete nominations as defined in the Operational Guidelines would be examined.
31. The Delegate of Lebanon asked to include in the decision that the "almost complete" nominations listed in table A of the working document were considered as "complete".
32. The Delegate of Saint Lucia asked a clear statement that the three nominations had been included on an exceptional basis in view of the transition period.
33. The Chairperson presented a revised draft decision including those amendments and further asking the Secretariat to keep an updated list of all nominations received with the date of reception, their status "complete" or "incomplete" and the date at which they are considered "complete".
34. The Delegates of Oman, China, United Kingdom, Finland, Nigeria, Russian Federation and Greece expressed their satisfaction with this revised draft decision.
35. The Delegate of Greece asked to include a specific reference to the Operational Guidelines with regard to the completeness of all nominations received.
36. The Delegate of Colombia recalled that due to a lack of resources some States parties were not in a position to prepare management plans and finalise their nominations. Her government had refrained from submitting a nomination for this reason. She therefore did not understand the exceptions made and considered that they were unfair.
37. Noting the support for the draft decision, the Chairperson declared it adopted (decision 26 COM 14).
38. Following this debate, the Delegate of Finland stated that there was an evident need to examine and streamline the procedures.
39. The Delegate of India emphasised that this was a transition period. In her opinion the Cairns decision caused problems and needed to be revised. She explained that her government had only wished to exchange two nomination proposals. She appealed to the Committee to evaluate the system so that the problem would be solved for the nominations to be examined in 2005.
40. During the adoption of the report (item 29) it was agreed that the decision should specify that the total number of new nominations to be examined by the Committee in 2003 would be 28.

Ceiling of New Nominations to be examined by the Committee in 2004 and general discussion
41. The Chairperson then invited the Committee to determine the number of nominations to be examined in 2004 recalling the Cairns decision:
"In order to promote the effective management of the increasing size of the World Heritage List, the Committee at each ordinary session will set the maximum number of nominations to be considered."
42. Considering that the analyses of the World Heritage List and the Tentative Lists were still not available, the Delegate of Lebanon made three proposals. First, the Committee should retain the ceiling of 30 new nominations. Secondly, it should also retain the limit of one nomination per country (unless that country has no sites on the List). Thirdly, he recalled that the maintenance and management of the World Heritage properties is a very large task for countries with many sites on the List; it is thus an appropriate task for them to concentrate their efforts on management and preservation of those properties. The priority should be given to those States parties with no sites on the List. The Cairns decision was taken to address this imbalance.
43. The Delegate of India asked to separate the issues. She recalled that the deadline for nominations to be examined in 2004 was 1 February 2003 and that the results of the analyses would not be available at that time. She wondered therefore how the Committee could take a decision on the number of nominations to examine in 2004. She recalled that the Cairns decision included an evaluation to be made in 2003.
44. The Delegate of Greece proposed to postpone the discussion until it was known how many complete nominations were submitted by 1 February 2003.
45. The Delegate of India noted that the evaluation should be a continuous process. She stated that the restriction of one site per country places unreasonable limits on large States Parties with a diverse heritage.
46. The Delegate of Nigeria raised the question of the regions which heritage was underrepresented on the World Heritage List. If the objective was to address the representativity, underrepresented States parties should be allowed at least two nominations a year.
47. The Delegate of Saint Lucia noted that the Committee could not change the Cairns decision before the two-year cycle had been completed.
48. The Chairperson invited the Committee to focus on the ceiling for 2004.
49. The Delegate of Egypt, while appreciating the work provided by the Advisory Bodies, declared that it was not acceptable to invoke their workload to limit the number of nominations by States Parties. The heritage of many States parties was underrepresented on the World Heritage List and this needed to be addressed. He therefore supported the intervention made by the Delegate of India and expressed his reservation against any ceiling for the nominations.
50. The Delegate of China stated that his delegation fully understood the reasons for limiting the number of nominations, but thought that the problem of an excess workload created by a large number of nominations should be solved through administrative measures available through UNESCO, or other efficiency measures. China's representative held that setting of any ceiling for nominations does not conform with the purpose of the Convention concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage, which actively advocates international co-operation in the rescue of cultural and natural heritages of the whole of mankind. Any consideration of the balance of distribution or representativeness of world heritage should be given to the type, time and characteristics of the heritage itself instead of to a specific country or region whose situation may differ widely from that of other countries or regions, otherwise it may be unscientific, unprofessional, or even unfair. China supported the international community to provide greater assistance so as to help countries not fully developed in the cause of World Heritage protection to improve their unbalanced work in the field. China is also willing to contribute more towards this end. The Chinese Delegation held at the same time, however, that it would be extremely inappropriate to hold back nominations by any country or region under such an excuse, or, even worse, to prevent any sites with due qualifications from due attention or protection by denying them rescue.
51. The Delegate of Greece noted that it was not the appropriate time to reopen the debate on the Cairns decision.
52. The Delegate of Oman however wanted to reopen the debate at a certain time as the Cairns decision was perceived as unfair.
53. The Delegate of Thailand noted that it could not be discussed without a separate agenda item and invited the secretariat to prepare a working document in due time.
54. The Observer of Chile observed that apparently there were some problems related to the implementation of the Cairns decision and supported the intervention made by the Delegate of India.
55. The Observer of France, who had taken part in the preparation of the Cairns decision, expressed his astonishment at the way in which the Cairns decision was being criticized. The purpose of the decision had been to find a solution to the imbalance between overrepresented and underrepresented countries and regions, and to assist States Parties in redressing that imbalance. After careful consideration, the Committee concluded that the best way of providing better balance and representativity was to have a ceiling. Without a ceiling, the best-represented countries, which have the best capacity to prepare nominations, would continue to submit nominations and the gap between well-represented countries and poorly represented countries would only increase. The Committee had set the limit at 30 nominations in order to concentrate its efforts and those of the World Heritage Centre on the unrepresented countries. He emphasised that the interpretation given to the Cairns decision was absolutely contrary to the Committee's objective and he therefore invited the members of the Committee to reexamine the issue in this perspective.
56. The Chairperson, supported by the Delegate of Nigeria, proposed that the ceiling be raised to 40 new nominations per year. No other delegates advocated this change.
57. The Delegate of Greece objected to this change given that the whole system would be reviewed in 2003. She invited the Committee to define a process for the evaluation rather than modify the ceiling. The ceiling should not be changed every year.
58. The Chairperson reminded the Committee that it was supposed to set a ceiling for the properties to be examined in 2004.
59. The Observer of Australia supported the Observer of France. The so called Cairns decision was not the result of one meeting's discussions but of a series of consultations and meetings of the Committee's Working Group on Representativity with open membership held in Paris in 2000. All States Parties had had opportunities to voice their opinions during the working group sessions.
60. The Delegate of the United Kingdom fully supported the intervention made by the Observer of France. He too was of the opinion that it was too early to proceed to an evaluation of the Cairns decision and supported the earlier intervention made by the Delegate of Greece in this regard.
61. The Delegate of Nigeria also supported the intervention made by the Observer of France, adding that reopening of the decision at this stage would weaken the Committee.
62. The Delegate of India expressed her full understanding and support for the issue of underrepresentation and overrepresentation on the World Heritage List and explained that she did not ask for a new regime. The Committee had adopted the Cairns decision but now it had to look at different modalities for its implementation. She questioned the wisdom of changing the global ceiling on the number of new nominations each year, as provided by the Cairns decision. Under those circumstances, States Parties would find it difficult to plan their schedule of nominations.The present session might not be the appropriate moment for an in depth discussion on the issue but the Committee should examine it in the near future.
63. The Delegate of Saint Lucia noted that the same Delegates who were complimenting the Cairns decision because it eventually created a mechanism to address the issue of representativity, wanted to undermine it. She asked the Legal Advisor whether the Committee could change the Cairns decision at the present session.
64. The Delegate of Thailand made a point of order. He stated that given the topic was not on the agenda, it was not the appropriate time to review the Cairns decision as such. He therefore asked to close the debate and was seconded by the Delegate of Saint Lucia.
65. The Delegate of Oman spoke against it.
66. The Chairperson declared that a vote must be taken.
67. A point of order was presented by the Delegate of India who sought clarification from the Legal Advisor on the procedure.
68. Following clarification by the Legal Advisor who drew the attention to rule 26 of the Rules of Procedure, a vote was taken. The debate was closed by 12 votes in favour, 6 against and 2 abstentions.
69. The Delegate of India began to explain her vote. The Delegate of Thailand presented a point of order noting that the Delegate of India’s intervention was not an explanation, but a reopening of the debate.
70. The Delegate of Saint Lucia explained her vote in favour of the closure of the debate because it was not on the Committee’s agenda for this session.
71. The Chairperson closed item 14 recalling that at its 28th session, the Committee would have a specific agenda item to deal with the nomination issue and that the secretariat would prepare a working document.

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