World Heritage Committee Newsletter #1

Mon, 6 Dec 1993 21:37:36 -0800

A daily newsletter covering the activities of the World Heritage
Committee, meeting in Cartagena, Colombia, December 6-11, 1993
Vol. II, No. 1 Monday, Dec. 6

CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA. The seventeenth session of the World Heritage
Committee opened this morning in the Centro de Convenciones y Exposiciones
of this city. The meeting was called to order by the outgoing chairman of
the Committee, Robert Milne, delegate of the UNITED STATES, who welcomed
the delegates, observers, and those in attendance, and thanked the
Government of Colombia for hosting the meeting. In welcoming the new
members of the committee elected at the Convention's General Assembly in
October, the chair briefly outlined the accomplishments of the Committee
and the World Heritage Centre over the past year. He acknowledged the help
given to the Committee and the Bureau by the director of the World Heritage
Centre, Mr. Bernd von Droste, and his staff.

Other expressions of hospitality were offered in a speech by the
PRESIDENT OF COLOMBIA, delivered by the Minister of Education; by UNESCO's
Deputy Director General AI, Mr. Badran, who recalled the unanimous
agreement with which the UNESCO General Conference had reiterated its
support for the World Heritage Convention; and by the DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF
COLCULTURA, the Colombian Institute of Culture, who described the new
heritage law which was to be proposed to Congress next year.

Adoption of the Agenda and Schedule. The director of the World
Heritage Centre, Mr. von Droste, presented the revised agenda for adoption
by the Committee. The UNITED STATES delegate asked that a new item,
discussion of "Management, Administration and Staffing of the World
Heritage Centre," be added to the Agenda, based on discussions in the
Bureau meeting the previous June. The US amendment was endorsed by GERMANY,
and the agenda was adopted as amended. Mr. von Droste also outlined the
proposed schedule of each day's sessions, running from 10-1 and 3-6,
although the last hour of each day on Monday through Wednesday would be
given to the new Budgeting Subcommittee, whose report would be presented on
Thursday. According to the Centre's own, admittedly constrained, schedule,
the Centre's own report of the meeting would be prepared Friday and
Saturday, for approval by the Committee Saturday afternoon.

New Chair, Vice-chairpersons, and Rapporteur. The outgoing chair, Mr.
Milne, asked for nominations for a new chairman of the Committee. In
response, the delegate from JAPAN rose to nominate the delegate from
COLOMBIA, Olga Pizano, Deputy Director General of Colcultura. The
nomination was supported by the delegates from GERMANY, SENEGAL, and
MEXICO. The chairman declared that the Committee had unanimously indicated
its choice. After a break, in her first official role, the new chair
called for nominations for five vice-chairmen and the rapporteur. The
AMERICAN, OMAN, and SENEGAL. To give further geographical balance to this
slate, the delegate proposed that the Rapporteur should be SPAIN. Delegates
from PERU, the PHILIPPINES, and GERMANY spoke in favor of the nominations,
and the chair declared the slate adopted by consensus.

Report of the Director of the World Heritage Centre. The next item on
the agenda and the concluding presentation of the morning was the report by
Mr. von Droste on the activities of the Secretariat undertaken since the
previous meeting of the Committee a year ago. He noted that two new states
had ratified the Convention since last December, the Czech and Slovak
republics, bringing the total to 136 states parties to the Convention.
Using an overhead graphic display of the rate of ratification, he suggested
that it would not be long before the Convention could claim near universal
acceptance. The Santa Fe meeting the previous December had been a milestone
for the Committee, von Droste said, most importantly because of the
adoption of the "Strategic Guidelines" and its five goals, which he
recalled for his listeners:

1) Promote completion of the identification of the world heritage.

2) Ensure the continued representativity and credibility of the
World Heritage List

3) Promote the adequate protection and management of the World
Heritage Sites

4) Pursue more systematic monitoring of World Heritage sites

5) Increase public awareness and support of the Convention

As to the first goal, the Director noted that the major bottleneck
was in the completion of tentative lists, as required by the Operational
Guidelines. Only a minority of parties to the Convention had submitted
these inventories, and many of those which had been submitted were
deficient. This factor was a major constraint on the identification of
properties eligible for the World Heritage List, and major action would be
taken in the next two years to rectify this situation.

The second goal was dependent on the continued observance of the
selection criteria specified in the Convention and in the Operational
Guidelines. In addition, within the last year, criteria had been developed
for a new category, cultural landscapes. He noted that three different
categories had been designated:
a) clearly defined landscapes (e.g., Versailles)
b) organically evolved landscapes resulting from successive
social and economic imperatives
c) Associative landscapes, those with strong religious or
artistic associations, such as the proposed Tongariro
National Park (NEW ZEALAND).

Two examples of the Centre's increasing involvement with Protection
and Management, the third goal, were its work to stabilize the situations
in Angkor (CAMBODIA) and Mt. Nimba (GUINEA/COTE D'IVOIRE), both of which
had vexed the Committee at its meeting in Santa Fe. At Angkor, many of the
recommendations made by the Committee a year ago had been met. At Mt.
Nimba, the poverty of the region pointed toward the need for sustainable
and compatible development and new local institutions. The site, he said,
had to remain on the World Heritage List if it was to be protected,
although it must also remain on the List of the World Heritage in Danger.

Monitoring activities occupied much of the small staff's attention.
The new interest in monitoring had brought over 70 monitoring reports, a
larger number than the Secretariat had had to deal with previously. Several
were worthy of emulation. In addition, the director mentioned the meeting
on "Monitoring of World Heritage Properties" held at Cambridge, UK, 1-4
November 1993. He stressed that baseline information was critical as a
foundation for subsequent monitoring reports, and that this should be
collected according to established international standards that define both
the condition of the site and its administrative and legal framework.

Concluding, Mr. von Droste described the ambitious, multi-faceted
program of promotion that the Centre had begun to increase awareness of the
Convention, the World Heritage sites, and the work of the Committee. Among
the achievements, he cited the launching of a new newsletter, a book
series, TV and video productions, and an interactive CD ROM display. In
support of the monitoring program, he called for a powerful World Heritage
Information system that would be able to link decentralized databases
maintained by WCMC, IUCN, ICOMOS, and other systems with World Heritage

The morning session concluded shortly after one o'clock, resuming at
approximately twenty minutes past three.

The afternoon session, which ran until shortly before five o'clock,
included three agenda items: the report of the Committee's Bureau;
discussion of appropriate administration of the World Heritage Centre; and
the establishment of a budgetary subcommittee.

Report of the Rapporteur. The Committee's Rapporteur, the delegate
from TUNISIA, presented his report of the Bureau meetings in July and
December. Monitoring again figured strongly in the Bureau's concerns, as it
had in Mr. von Droste's remarks in the morning. It was important, the
Bureau felt, that there should be both a global methodology and a site-
specific methodology. The Bureau reviewed several monitoring reports, and
examined the properties proposed for nomination, which would be presented
later in the Committee's meeting. One of the important recommendations of
the Bureau had been the establishment of a Reserve Fund, an issue that
would be taken up by the new Budgetary subcommittee.

The new agenda item, "Management, Administration and Staffing of the
World Heritage Centre," reflected the concern that several delegations felt
about the inadequate levels of staffing provided by UNESCO to the World
Heritage Centre; that administrative and contractual delays were hampering
the work of the Centre; and that the formation of new advisory and steering
committees within UNESCO were challenging the direction given to the Center
by the Committee itself and were inconsistent with the Committee's goals.
The UNITED STATES delegate noted that they had supported the creation of
the Centre as the Convention's first permanent Secretariat, but that it was
deeply concerned over the limited resources made available by the UN body.
The delegate from GERMANY echoed the US concern, noting the contrast
between the Centre's permanent staff of four and the staff of twenty for
the Ramsar Convention, and twenty-two for CITES. GERMANY proposed that a
small working group meet to prepare a draft paper for presentation Friday.
The proposal was also supported by THAILAND. The delegate from FRANCE
recommended that the Committee not act hastily; UNESCO control was
important. Was the Committee trying to create a new entity? Or a
functioning part of UNESCO? Mr. Badran, Deputy Director-General A.I. of
UNESCO, also cautioned the Committee on making any precipitous move.
UNESCO, he said, had been trying to avoid creating new posts, instead
relying on partners, NGOs, and consultants. Use UNESCO regional offices to
carry out World Heritage tasks, he urged, rather than create new entities.

Based on the discussion, the Chair called for a Working Group to meet
Tuesday morning at 9 am, prior to the convening of the plenary session.
After some further discussion, between Mr. Badran and the delegates from
ITALY and GERMANY, it was agreed that the working group should attempt a
comprehensive statement of the tasks before the Centre so as better to
assess its needs.

As the concluding matter of the afternoon, Mr. von Droste described
the tasks of the Subcommittee for Budgetary and Financial Matters, whose
agenda had been outlined by the outgoing Bureau. The subcommittee would
meet immediately following the plenary session, reporting back to the
Committee on Thursday morning. The Committee adjourned shortly before five



W o r l d H e r i t a g e C o m m i t t e e
-------- Annual Meeting, Cartagena, Colombia, December 6-11, 1993 --------
This distribution is made possible through the cooperation of the Canadian
National Committee of ICOMOS, the Institute for Global Communications, and
a grant from Martha S. Diener. The reports are those of an observer of the
meetings and do not represent official publications of either the World
Heritage Centre or any delegation.
Inquiries to the distribution coordinator, Peter Stott
<> or <> or fax> to (57-53) 655-145.