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


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Document: WHC-02/CONF.202/5
1. The Chairperson explained that the Bureau at its 26th session (April 2002) had prepared a draft version of the Budapest Declaration for World Heritage. He affirmed that the best way to proceed, in order for the Committee to adopt the Declaration, would be to create an open-ended working group entrusted with the final drafting of the Declaration. The Committee agreed with this proposal.
2. The Delegate of the United Kingdom suggested that the working group be requested to prepare a concise but strong declaration, focusing on a limited number of key issues.
3. The Chairperson agreed and noted also the support of the Delegates of Nigeria and India for this proposal.
4. At the invitation of the Chairperson, the working group was chaired by the former Chairperson of the Committee, Mr Henrik Lilius. The following delegates and observers contributed to its work: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Egypt, France, India, Israel, Lebanon, Netherlands, Nigeria, Santa Lucia, South Africa, Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom and the Advisory Bodies.
5. A new draft of the Budapest Declaration prepared by the working group, was circulated on Friday morning, 28 June and the Chairperson asked whether the Delegates had any comments.
6. The Delegate of Thailand asked to use the full title of the Convention in paragraph 3.1.
7. The Delegate of Lebanon recommended not to repeat endlessly “universal exceptional value”.
8. Noting the consensus, the Chairperson declared the Declaration of Budapest adopted with the suggested amendments (decision 26 COM 9). He stated that this was a major contribution to the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention.
9. Later that morning, as part of the celebratory events for the 30th Anniversary of the World Heritage Convention, the Chairperson warmly welcomed the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura and invited him to address the World Heritage Committee. The Director-General's speech appears below:
"Your Excellency, Mr Lászlo Mandur (Deputy Speaker of the Parliament),

Mr Tamás Fejérdy (Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee),

Members of the World Heritage Committee,

Distinguished former Chairpersons of the World Heritage Committee,

Representatives of the Advisory Bodies (ICOMOS, ICCROM and IUCN),

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very pleased to be with you today and to have this opportunity to address you. I trust that you have all had a productive week of work. I would like to thank all of you for your dedication.
We are gathered to mark and celebrate the 30th anniversary of what is probably UNESCO’s most successful convention – the 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. This celebration is also taking place in the context of the United Nations Year of Cultural Heritage (2002), for which UNESCO has been designated the lead agency by the UN General Assembly in order to mobilize and coordinate activities around the world.
The Convention is now being implemented almost universally, with 172 signatory countries and the inclusion of more than 730 sites on the World Heritage List. I would like to sincerely thank all States Parties to the Convention, the Advisory Bodies to the Committee (ICOMOS, IUCN and ICCROM) and the many organizations and individuals around the world who have made a significant contribution to this global movement for World Heritage conservation begun 30 years ago.
Here in Hungary, the World Heritage Convention is being celebrated with this important 30th anniversary session of the World Heritage Committee. The number of remarkable World Heritage sites here pays tribute to the implementation of the Convention in this country. Indeed, the venue for our meeting, so generously hosted by Hungary, is in fact a World Heritage site. I also offer my sincere congratulations to our Hungarian hosts for your successful organization of this meeting and my thanks for your kind hospitality. In this regard, I extend my special thanks to Madam Szili, the Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament.
At this point, I would like to warmly congratulate Mr Tamás Fejérdy of Hungary on his election as the new Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee. Having been a former Chairperson of the Committee myself, I understand the special honour and responsibility conferred by this international role.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is important that we place the World Heritage Convention in the context of UNESCO’s unique responsibility within the UN system for the totality of culture and cultural heritage. Therefore, it is incumbent upon UNESCO to make sense of the totality, to draw connections between key developments in the sphere of culture, and to promote the safeguarding of all aspects of tangible and intangible heritage.
Today, we are being invited to reflect upon what we have traditionally done regarding heritage and what are the needs of the future. Currently, we find ourselves in the midst of a transition. We must re-position ourselves and find our way forward. In the brief exploration that follows, I shall focus on certain key aspects of the Convention and emphasize the importance of meeting fresh challenges.
In regard to the 1972 Convention itself, key questions arise concerning how we can ensure that the World Heritage List is credible and that the designation of a site as ‘World Heritage’ is meaningful in terms of its future management and protection. The credibility of the List depends very much on achieving a delicate balance. The List must be maintained as a select global inventory of heritage properties of ‘outstanding universal value’, as described in the Convention. At the same time, we should try to build, to the extent possible, a List that is balanced and representative of the different geo-cultural regions. It should also express the diversity of types of cultural and natural heritage.
Some criticize the List as being too elitist while others say that the List is growing too large! The real task, however, is to ensure that the List is more than just an honour list. Sites should be awarded World Heritage status for a reason. They must be guaranteed of protection to the highest possible standards, with assistance being provided from the international community as required.
The Convention provides the Committee with a number of mechanisms to ensure the protection of World Heritage sites under threat, namely, the List of World Heritage in Danger and the possible deletion of sites from the World Heritage List. I believe that more could be done to use these mechanisms to their full potential. After all, some sites have been on the List of World Heritage in Danger for decades without receiving the special attention they deserve. I therefore urge you to make full use of the protective capacity of the World Heritage Convention in this regard.
Our primary partners in our collective work to protect World Heritage are, of course, the States Parties to the Convention. I therefore call on you all to ensure World Heritage properties become examples of effective management and conservation. It is your responsibility to ensure that World Heritage properties do not suffer either direct or indirect damage.
In addition to States Parties, UNESCO looks to other actors with whom we can address the challenges of world heritage conservation. We must foster and build a partnership approach to our work. Co-operation agreements on World Heritage have now been signed with Italy, France, the Netherlands and, most recently, Spain and Australia. My thanks go to these States Parties for demonstrating their commitment to World Heritage through the signing of these agreements and the provision of technical and/or financial resources to our work.
I have also negotiated closer relationships between other UN and regional bodies, with the World Bank and other financial institutions, and between bilateral development co-operation agencies and UNESCO. The World Heritage Centre is actively consulting with a number of major bilateral and multilateral development co-operation agencies. I am pleased to report on an important multilateral action: in consultation with UNESCO, the World Bank has revised its Policy Guidelines and Operational Framework in order to include cultural heritage impact assessments in the design of its projects. Meanwhile, a significant bilateral step forward arises from the fact that the approval procedures of Japan’s Cultural Grant Aid and the Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC) loans now recommend “non-objection from UNESCO” with regard to sites on the World Heritage List and the tentative lists.
This year, the building of new and long-term partnerships for World Heritage conservation is being given special emphasis. Reaching out to the people, the civil society through all its sectors is today, not only a duty in the name of democracy, but also a necessity to meet the challenge of heritage protection. Partnerships with the private sector, notably those drawing benefit from cultural and natural resources, such as the tourism and mining, among others, must be negotiated. We are supported in this effort by foundations and NGOs.
An example of this is the special relationship UNESCO has developed with the United Nations Foundation (UNF). This partnership promotes the conservation of potential and designated sites of biodiversity of outstanding universal value. In connection with the 30th anniversary of the Convention in November, the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and UNF are in the process of negotiating an expansion of this relationship to include key international conservation NGOs such as the World-wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Conservation International (CI). It is hoped that this new relationship could further increase the resources available at the country and site levels for World Heritage conservation.
The benefits of partnership also arise in relation to the preparation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg in just a few weeks’ time. Shortly before the World Summit, a workshop on “African Heritage and Sustainable Development” will be held in Pretoria, South Africa. The workshop is being organized by the South African Department of the Environment and Tourism in co-operation with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, IUCN and ICOMOS. In addition, several of UNESCO’s partners are launching initiatives and actions during the World Summit that will attract attention to the importance of the World Heritage Convention. For example, the Equator Initiative, linking UNDP, UNF, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada, and other partners, will recognize and reward successful campaigns and efforts to link resource conservation and sustainable development. The Equator Initiative Awards will recognize partnership between communities, NGOs, the private sector, government and other groups. During the Summit, a special recognition prize will be awarded to a World Heritage site (from a shortlist of 22 sites) for the successful integration of conservation and local livelihoods.
Notwithstanding these worthy initiatives, we must ask ourselves whether we could have done more to link the World Heritage Convention to global partnerships in the implementation of the Agenda 21 adopted in Rio ten years ago for the protection of our common future.
Ladies and Gentlemen
As you know, the World Heritage Convention has always been complemented by other treaties. In the area of natural heritage, the Convention has made important contributions to the global conservation effort in association with such conventions as those addressing biological diversity and wetlands protection. You have designated, for example, about 3 per cent of the world’s tropical forests as World Heritage. Let us consider increasing this percentage in the future, and further protect our important marine and other ecosystems.
There are other international conventions that complement the World Heritage Convention. For example, the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970) is a crucial international instrument to stop the illicit traffic of cultural objects. I am very happy to note that three important countries – Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Japan – are proceeding towards ratifying this convention. Another important treaty affecting cultural heritage protection and conservation is the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954) and the First and Second Protocols of 1954 and 1999 respectively. There is still scope for more Member States to ratify both the Convention and the related Protocols in order to achieve fuller protection.
Recent events have called into question the adequacy of existing instruments for addressing particular circumstances where cultural heritage is destroyed or damaged. Thus, in response to the destruction last year of the giant Buddhas at Bamiyan, Afghanistan, the UNESCO General Conference has asked me to prepare a Draft Declaration concerning the Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage. I believe that this Declaration will be a fundamental contribution to the ‘toolkit’ to be used by the international community to protect our world’s heritage.
In this regard, I was very pleased to learn that the Committee inscribed the Minaret of Jam on the World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger. In the twenty years since its nomination in 1982, along with other cultural sites in Afghanistan, the escalation of war had a heavy toll on many of these sites. Damages caused by bombs and gunfire, such as in Herat were compounded by those from pillage and illicit excavation for years, and, helas, culminating even to the willful destruction of Bamiyan. All attempts to stop this madness were to no avail.
This tragedy will weigh on our conscious as the world’s moral authority and guardian of heritage. This is all the more reason that the decision of the Committee at this session to extend its concern to protect the heritage in the Palestinian territories is so important. The Committee’s courage not to allow political and diplomatic considerations to prevent the functioning of this important mechanism for international solidarity gives credibility to the World Heritage Convention. And for this, on behalf of UNESCO, I thank you.
The recent broadening by the General Conference of the range of UNESCO’s instruments in the field of cultural heritage protection is most significant. In regard to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (2001), we are seeking to promote the ratification of this convention by holding a series of regional meetings, the first of which (for the Americas) was held in Jamaica last week. To come into force, this convention needs to be ratified by 20 States. I therefore call upon all States to proceed rapidly with the ratification process so that those countries most vulnerable to the pillage and destruction of underwater cultural heritage sites can get the legal protection they need. Simultaneously, UNESCO will promote improved international collaboration among the different interests involved so that practical solutions may be found to underwater cultural heritage issues.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Since 1972, the World Heritage Convention has been the main pillar of UNESCO’s work in heritage protection, so much so that it is difficult now to envisage what was the situation before that date. The clear focus of the Convention has been upon tangible cultural and natural heritage. Today, however, we cannot fail to recognize that intangible cultural heritage has been neglected over the years. There is now no good reason to further delay addressing this vital dimension of heritage, especially in view of its fragility and vulnerability. Moreover, experience has taught us how important are the links between intangible cultural heritage and the cultural identity of individuals and communities. Questions of intangible cultural heritage also intersect with issues of cultural diversity and biodiversity that are attracting mounting concern at global, national and local levels. For these and other reasons, it is neither possible nor acceptable to allow intangible cultural heritage to continue being neglected.
At the same time as the salience of intangible cultural heritage has grown, our understanding of its character and its relation to other dimensions of heritage has deepened. There have been a number of practical efforts to safeguard intangible cultural heritage at national levels but there have been no concrete steps at the international level comparable to the 1972 Convention. Therefore, as far as international instruments are concerned, there is a huge vacuum to be filled in relation to intangible cultural heritage. An important tool of advocacy to draw attention to this area was UNESCO’s First Proclamation of 19 Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in May 2001. The Second Proclamation, scheduled to be issued in May 2003, will provide another opportunity to show how extraordinary is the living legacy of intangible cultural heritage across the world.
It is clear that a major step forward took place last year at the UNESCO General Conference when I was invited to prepare an international standard-setting instrument for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage. Substantive work on this preparation has begun. As the Executive Board decided, a government expert group will meet in late September 2002. I plan to submit a preliminary draft to the next General Conference in 2003. Such a convention will provide an international framework embracing all forms of intangible cultural heritage such as oral expressions, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festive events, or knowledge and practices about nature. With reference to this international convention, Member States will be able to devise national instruments suited to their particular profile of intangible cultural heritage.
We have high expectations that the debate concerning the basic issue of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage will receive a strong impetus at the next UNESCO Round Table of Ministers of Culture, to be held in Istanbul in mid-September 2002. It is particularly interesting that intangible cultural heritage will be addressed at the Istanbul Round Table in close conjunction with cultural diversity, whose preservation requires greater efforts by all of us.
Over recent years, in fact, it has become increasingly clear that the whole subject of heritage is closely bound up with questions of cultural diversity, in particular how cultural diversity can survive and thrive, in all its forms, in an era of rapid globalization. It is this purpose which unifies all our efforts in regard to cultural heritage, cultural development and inter-cultural dialogue. It is this vision which lies behind the focus of the UN Year for Cultural Heritage on two main themes, namely, development and dialogue. And it is therefore in the perspective of UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity that the operation of the 1972 Convention must be considered in order to ensure their continuing relevance in a fast-changing world. The Convention, in other words, should be viewed as a tool of great importance not only for heritage protection but for a wide range of efforts supportive of cultural diversity. Indeed, no one should underestimate the importance of UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity for providing a framework for viewing all of our work in the area of culture and cultural heritage.
In this United Nations Year for Cultural Heritage, I would like to give you my strong and abiding commitment to the cause of protecting and safeguarding heritage in all its forms. I call on you all to support UNESCO in its work in the knowledge that heritage issues can no longer be separated from the struggle for cultural diversity or, indeed, from the struggle for peace, reconciliation and development. The Budapest Declaration on World Heritage, which will shortly be adopted by the World Heritage Committee, will be a clarion call affirming our common responsibility in this whole area.
In closing, I would like to express once again my sincere thanks to our Hungarian hosts for your generosity and hospitality. I look forward to seeing many of you in Venice in November as we continue our celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Convention and reflect together on our shared legacy and common responsibility to protect our World Heritage.
Thank you."
10. The Chairperson then invited Mr Lázlo Mandur, representative of the Hungarian government (Deputy Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament) to address the Committee. The text of Mr Mandur's speech appears below:
"Distinguished participants of the anniversary meeting, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me first thank Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura for the information and the interesting lecture, and also congratulate him on the occasion of his high civil award given by the Hungarian State.
With the delight I felt when I learned it, let me inform those present that this meeting of the Committee celebrating the 30th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention, is of special importance for us partly because of the opportunity to host it and partly because for the next year from now on the Committee will have a Hungarian Chairman. In addition to our World Heritage properties already on the List, our National Committee has nominated for inclusion in the World Heritage List:
- Andrássy Avenue as the extension of the World Heritage site of Budapest, together with the Synagogue district in the overlapped zone,
- and the Cultural Landscape of the Tokaj-Hegyalja vineyards.
We are aware of the responsibility entailed by the inclusion of the two newest properties in the List.
As for the urban area, we must not only to maintain it, not only to conserve its status, but must also to improve it.
As for the Tokaj Vineyards, we are so much aware of its value that it is mentioned in our national anthem: “Thou who dropped nectar on the grapevines of Tokaj…”
But it is not enough to mention that for centuries now the local wine has been “vinum regum, rex vinorum” that is “wine of kings, king of wines”, since neither the splendid mountain sides facing south, nor the most perfect soil for wine production, nor the most distinguished species of grape and the most valuable noble root would be enough without the constant, attentive and professional human work for preserving – and permanently enriching – this value for the future.
Luckier nations of Europe can present families that live and work for five hundred years in the same house, within the same walls. A profession passes from father to son within the family. The bakery, the cooper’s shop, the brewery or the mill is in operation for half a thousand years. Even the signboard does not change.
Your great-great-grandfather, my fellow, drank the beer brewed by my great-great-grandfather to him, and the beer was the same brand we are drinking right now”
Happy peoples, happy families!
The Valley of the Carpathians is one of the areas of the world most exposed to drought. There were no storms in European history that have not blown through this area, or that have not caused destructive whirlwinds. Nations, being foster brothers of each other, allowed some cunning powers to set them against each other. No one better than ourselves know what peace is worth, what is the value of the heritage preserved from the past, because here there are very few real values that could survive. Many more values are preserved by our minds, than the number of real fortress walls, objects or tangible art treasures preserved in the landscape.
There was a deterrent example in our neighbourhood. Sarajevo, one of the most beautiful pearls of the cultural heritage in the Balkans, has been ruined almost before our eyes. A place where otherwise three nations, three cultures and three traditions were able to coexist in peace – and even we could see how could three cultures embrace each other.
Beautiful examples of humanity are accompanied by the most horrifying ones: what destruction could the human being cause when he has gone mad with mercilessness, evilness and impatience, and become an amoral monster, when the supreme Laws: equity, fraternity and empathy are forgotten, if sword cuts into the Gordian knot where beautiful and brave task would have been its undoing.
In our country there are many more ruins than preserved landmarks. This is why we have been so proud of our participation in the Committee’s work from the very beginning, and are grateful and happy to have become members in 1985 and to be able to offer treasures that have been included on the List.
However, we know that it is much easier to have a landscape, a structure or any cultural property included in the List than to preserve, care, renovate, save and further develop it. We know our tasks and we will do our best to preserve the treasures entrusted by mankind to us.
Progressive humans look forward. They know that the future is intrinsic with dangers, however they may not turn their back to the future, but rather make preparations to contend threats, and expect tempestuous weather. Human persistence, bravery and strength necessary for such fight could be given by nothing else but traditions preserved in their genuineness."
11. Following these interventions, the Chairperson provided a brief presentation of the Budapest Declaration. He emphasized that the Declaration gave a new impetus to the reforms undertaken by the World Heritage Committee, that it identified the challenges and showed direction for the years to come. He concluded by saying that it is a standing invitation for all to join the Committee and UNESCO in their efforts to achieve these objectives and therefore asked the Secretariat to widely disseminate it.
12. Ms Zsófia Burányi (World Heritage manager, Andrássy Avenue District, Budapest) proceeded to the reading of the Budapest Declaration.
13. A Hungarian musical ensemble provided a performance that closed the celebratory events of the 30th Anniversary of the World Heritage Convention during the 26th session of the Committee.

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