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


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1. This agenda item was initially scheduled for Friday 28 June 2002. Due to time constraints (see also item 26 and the debate relating to the workload during the Committee sessions), the Committee decided not to open this agenda item (decision 26 COM 2).


Documents: WHC-02/CONF.202/1 Rev.3

WHC-02/CONF.202/INF.1 Rev.2
1. The Committee noted the very heavy agenda for its session and made a number of suggestions for managing the agenda and improving its working methods.
2. The Delegate of Lebanon requested that agenda item 7 (Report of the Secretariat on the activities undertaken since the 25th session of the Committee) be examined later in the week in order to give time to the delegates to examine the document.
3. The Delegate of Belgium supported the proposal made by the Delegate of Lebanon and requested all documents, including Information Documents, notably the Report of the Secretariat (WHC-02/CONF.202/INF.6), be made available in both working languages, English and French.
4. The Delegate of Saint Lucia requested that in the future the origin of items on the Agenda be indicated with the originator of the item (Committee or Bureau member, the Director-General of UNESCO, Secretariat etc.) shown in parentheses. She proposed to postpone discussion on Item 19 (Revision of the Rules of Procedure).
5. With reference to Item 29 (Adoption of the Report of the session), the Delegate of the United Kingdom proposed that in order to improve Committee procedures and follow-up to its decisions, the report to be adopted by the Committee should comprise only the decisions. There should be a separate summary record of the discussions circulated as an information document. This would be comparable to the practice adopted by UNESCO's Executive Board.
6. The Director of the World Heritage Centre noted that the proposal made by the Delegate of the United Kingdom had advantages and that it could be implemented starting this session. On the other hand, postponing agenda item 19 would create technical problems in his opinion and he therefore asked the Delegate of Saint Lucia to withdraw her proposal.
7. The Delegate of Saint Lucia clarified that the revision of the Rules of Procedure needed to be examined in a broader context, that other issues than those mentioned in the working document – such as the role of the Bureau – needed also to be examined. For those reasons and bearing in mind that the agenda of this Committee session had so many important items, she maintained her proposal to postpone item 19. She further warmly supported the proposal made by the Delegate of the United Kingdom concerning the presentation of the report.
8. The Delegates of Finland and China also supported the proposal made by the Delegate of the United Kingdom.
9. The Chairperson suggested maintaining agenda item 19 but to limit discussions to the ways to proceed with the revision of the Rules of Procedure, and to postpone agenda item 7 until later in the week. He then declared the agenda adopted as amended (decision 26 COM 3.1).
10. The Director of the World Heritage Centre indicated that the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee would examine the requests for international assistance once the Committee had approved the readjustments of the budget under item 24.
11. The debate on the new format of the report was resumed later that morning after agenda item 5. Having consulted the Secretariat, the newly elected Rapporteur confirmed that the Report (List of Decisions) and the Summary Record would be circulated as two separate documents. She asked the Committee, if necessary, to allow some time to adjust the format of the Summary Record. The Rapporteur suggested that draft decisions be prepared, translated and to the extent possible circulated prior to final amendment and adoption by the Committee at the end of the session. She requested that if Committee members had already prepared draft decisions, that they be provided to the Secretariat for translation and distribution in advance of the relevant agenda item.
12. The Delegate of Thailand approved this working method, recalling that the Summary Record is an information document.
13. The Delegate of Saint Lucia also supported this working method, stressing that the Report with the Committee’s decisions was the most important.
14. The Delegate of India, while noting that the proposed working method could be interesting, asked that this proposition be implemented on an experimental basis. She asked for clarification on the modalities, the preparation time, the comments, the finalisation and distribution of the Summary Record.
15. The Rapporteur indicated that such clarifications would be given in due time.
16. The Delegate of Nigeria supported the proposal to focus on decisions and having a Summary Record.
17. The Delegate of India proposed that until the Committee had a clear idea on the new format of the report and its implications, it would work along the existing methods.
18. The Chairperson summarized the debate and suggested that he formulate decisions at the end of each agenda item. He recommended that the proposal of the United Kingdom be implemented by keeping the advantages of the old system whilst seeking improvements. He added that written draft decisions were welcome as they would facilitate the debate and the decision-making.
19. On the final morning of the meeting, the Rapporteur informed the Committee that, as requested by the Committee, the Report of the present session would consist of a complete set of decisions, including those taken that morning. A first draft of the Summary Record would be distributed at the end of the session; due to the fact that the last working session was held on that same morning, it would only be a preliminary and incomplete draft. She then invited the Committee to comment on the two draft decisions 26 COM 3.2 and 26 COM 3.3 that had been circulated, the latter containing details related to the procedures for finalizing both documents.
20. The Delegate of Lebanon questioned whether it would not be more appropriate to delete ‘to the extent possible’ in the first paragraph of draft decision 26 COM 3.2.
21. The Chairperson noted that it was understood that when closing an agenda item, a formal decision was required.
22. The Delegate of the United Kingdom asked to add “for correction of their own interventions” in paragraph 3 of draft decision 26 COM 3.3.
23. The Delegate of India again requested that the new reporting be adopted on an experimental basis. She questioned whether corrections to the Summary Record should be limited to one's own interventions only.
24. The Delegate of Lebanon noted that the Committee had already taken a decision and that the debate should not be reopened at this stage.
25. The Delegate of Saint Lucia recalled that the Summary Record was for information and that the proposed working method was the same as for the Executive Board of UNESCO where Delegates could only correct their own statements.
26. The Delegate of India thought that a decision on this matter had not yet been adopted. In her opinion, the working methods of the Committee were different from those of the Executive Board of UNESCO. She emphasized that summaries of the debates were important for administrations and site managers in the countries. Good reporting procedures were important, she noted.
27. The Chairperson recalled that the Committee had agreed upon the new format for the report on an experimental basis.
28. The Observer of Australia asked that paragraph 3 of draft decision 26 COM 3.3. be amended to include the Observers.
29. The Delegate of Nigeria supported this proposal while expressing concern whether this would be manageable.
30. The Delegate of Saint Lucia noted, with a view to keeping procedures simple and manageable, that translation at each stage of the procedure, before the Summary Record was complete, was not necessary.

31. The Delegate of the United Kingdom asked whether the Summary Record could be published in less than three months.

32. To those who were concerned by possible delays in finalizing the Summary Record, the Rapporteur recalled that this was due to the fact that the session was extended to Saturday morning. If there were good reasons for continuing the work on Friday and Saturday, the Committee had to understand that this had implications for the preparation of the Report and the Summary Record.
33. The Delegate of Lebanon proposed to adopt the draft decision with the amendments of the United Kingdom and Australia.
34. The Delegates of Thailand and Nigeria agreed.
35. The Delegate of India said she was not opposed to the draft decisions but noted that the Rapporteur had informed the Committee on issues needing further reflection. In her opinion the procedures were not entirely clear and thus she emphasized that the system could only be implemented on an experimental basis. The Summary Record would be of limited use if it would only be available six months after the meeting.
36. The Secretariat informed the Committee that it might not be possible to publish the Summary Record in less than three months, given the (summer) holidays. According to the Secretariat, as the Summary Record was not finalized during the session due to time constraints, the work would have to be completed by the Secretariat and translators on their return to Paris. The Secretariat indicated that there would be some time management and human resource implications as this work was usually completed during the Committee session. The Secretariat indicated that as the complete draft of the Summary Record could not be provided at the session, they would do their best to dispatch a copy of the completed document to participants so they have the opportunity to check their interventions. The Secretariat indicated that the clear decisions adopted by the Committee would greatly assist the Secretariat in ensuring appropriate follow-up to each decision and expressed their commitment to improving the working methods of the Committee.
37. The Delegate of the United Kingdom commended the Secretariat for its efforts to implement the new format starting this session, acknowledging that some difficulties were inherent to any change. He was confident however that the new format would improve efficiency of the Committee’s and Secretariat’s work, for the benefit of all concerned by the Convention.
38. The Delegate of India expressed her concerns following the intervention of the Secretariat, notably concerning the remark about the human resources. She insisted that the Summary Record should have been available at the end of the session.
39. The Rapporteur drew again the attention of the Committee members to the fact that all agenda items had led to substantial debates, notably item 12 (policy and legal issues), 21 (state of conservation reports) and 23 (new nominations) and the Committee had also extended the session with meetings on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning which had never happened in the past. She noted it was unreasonable to expect in those circumstances that a complete Summary Record would be distributed in two languages only some hours later; she asked the Committee to understand this. She added that thanks to the new format of the Report, there would be no problem to submit the complete list of decisions for adoption by the Committee later that day.
40. The Delegate of India declared that she would join the consensus.
41. The Chairperson declared draft decisions 26 COM 3.2 and 3.3 adopted, the latter with the amendments proposed by the Delegate of the United Kingdom and the Observer of Australia. He suggested that the deadline for checking the interventions of the Summary Record would be 10 days maximum.
42. Following the adoption of the decisions, the Delegate of India expressed her reservation.
43. During the adoption of the report (item 29) it was agreed that the decision should specify that the Summary Record would be provided "for information".

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