World Heritage Newsletter #6

Sun, 12 Dec 1993 01:21:20 -0800

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

CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA. The 32nd site to be inscribed at this session of
the World Heritage Committee was also Vietnam's first World Heritage site,
the Complex of Hue Monuments. The inscription had been deferred two days
previously because Vietnam had not provided a tentative list of proposed
sites eligible for World Heritage status, as required by the Committee's
Guidelines. This list had since been transmitted by facsimile to the World
Heritage Centre within the previous 24 hours, thus making it possible to
inscribe the site.
Hue was the administrative center of southern Vietnam in the 17th and
18th centuries. Between 1802 and 1945 it was the national capital, and as a
capital, it was planned in accordance with ancient oriental philosophy and
Vietnamese tradition in particular. Designed between 1803 and 1805,
construction was not completed until 1832. The Hue complex is a remarkable
example of the planning and construction of a complete defended capital
city in a relatively short period in the early years of the 19th century.
It is unique in its region of southeast Asia. It is inscribed under
criterion iv.

Also on this final day of the Committee's meeting, the delegates
unanimously declared their support for a declaration proposed by FRANCE
condemning destruction in former Yugoslavia. The French delegate noted that
although Mostar was not a World Heritage site, the site had been on
Yugoslavia's tentative list as worthy of inscription. The English text of
the declaration reads as follows:



The World Heritage Committee, representing the 136 States
Parties to the Convention concerning the protection of the
world cultural and natural heritage, strongly supports the
appeals of the Director-General and the General Conference of
UNESCO to halt all destruction of the heritage of Bosnia Herze-
govina and to allow the international community to participate
in the restoration work which is absolutely necessary.

The Committee vigorously condemns such destruction, like
those which recently affected Mostar - in flagrant contradic-
tion with international law - and urges the Director-General of
UNESCO to send, as soon as the situation allows, the mission of
experts requested by the General Conference in order to eval-
uate the damage and to study the possibility of providing emer-
gency assistance.



The final day of the Committee's seventeenth session opened at 9:30
am with a report by Breda Pavlic of the World Heritage Centre on activities
undertaken by the Centre to promote the Convention. She called attention to
the Centre's new newsletter, whose third issue was now available. Other
ventures included a television series of eight 52-minute programs produced
by the British company, Independent Image; and the marketing of the first
series of CD photodisks from Patrimonie 2001. Other elements in the
Centre's promotional strategy included:

* better use of existing networks -- Unesco clubs, national
commissions, other units of Unesco, and the Convention's advisory

* the development of a good and high-quality database, not by
establishing a new entity, but by making better use of existing

* making much more use of World Heritage sites for promotional

* developing mobile, high-quality exhibits for travel between States

* educational programs for youth and school groups.

LEBANON praised the report, congratulating the Secretariat on an
ambitious program, but the delegate noted that too often material was not
available to the general public, particularly at the sites themselves,
where quite often there was no evidence at all of World Heritage status.
GERMANY agreed, but called attention to the costs of translations and
frequent updates that this material often required. Both ICOMOS and ICOM
spoke of their own work in promotional activities, calling attention to the
opportunities for cooperation between the Centre and their respective

The observer from AUSTRALIA expressed concern that the programs
lacked any clear objectives or performance indicators. There was no
procedure, he noted for reader feedback or market surveys. Was such an
ambitious program even possible? The Centre was not the World Tourism
Organization. The Committee's cause was the preservation and management of
the World Heritage, and the Convention's proper clients were national
governments, who were charged with this duty by the Convention. The Centre
should make more of an effort to acknowledge the role of national
governments in their promotional activities. Responding to AUSTRALIA,
ICOMOS noted that although the national role was important, what the
Secretariat and its advisory bodies were about was international
cooperation; sometimes we forget about the dimensions of universality. For
the Centre, Ms. Pavlic added that she hoped the new networking of partners
would begin to provide the needed feedback within the next year.


For the Centre, Ms. Mechtild Rossler provided a summary of the expert
meeting held in October in Templin, Germany on the subject of cultural
landscapes, as had been requested by the Committee at its last meeting in
Santa Fe. She noted the interdisciplinary nature of the meeting, with
experts presenting a wide geographic range of case studies showing the
applicability of the new criteria. It was evident from the meeting, and was
a key recommendation to the Committee, that more work would be needed,
particularly in the study of living continuing landscapes still inhabited
by indigenous peoples. Among other points reached by the group: Local
people should be involved from the beginning of the process; detailed
management plans were as important as legal regulations; and regional
comparative studies were essential.

Several delegates asked why more regions of the world were not
represented in the experts meeting. Could the Unesco national commissions
have been used to obtain better representation? The Centre's response was
that although they tried to invite a geographically representative group it
was not always possible, and use of the Unesco commissions would have been
much too time-consuming. Now that a regional approach was being adopted, it
might be possible for more countries to be represented. AUSTRALIA supported
the regional approach and expressed concern that more attention should be
given to the continuing values of living indigenous peoples. The ICOMOS
coordinator responded that the experts group had given, and was continuing
to give, the issue much attention. The PHILIPPINES delegate announced that
plans were underway for a regional meeting in Manila on Asian cultural
landscapes next fall.

The Committee adopted the "Action Plan for the Future," as suggested
by the experts meeting. This document was designed to assist State Parties
in drawing up revised tentative lists giving a priority to the
identification of cultural landscapes. It also called for a cultural
landscape thematic study to be prepared in conjunction with ICOMOS and


The next meeting of the Bureau will be July 4-9 in Paris, the
Centre's director announced. The delegate from THAILAND, Dr. Adul
Wichiencharoen, then announced that on behalf of the Royal Thai Government,
his delegation had the honor to invite the Committee to Thailand for the
eighteenth session of the Committee. However, in view of the national
celebration of His Majesty the King's birthday on December 4-6, THAILAND
asked for some flexibility in the date. Accordingly, Mr. von Droste
suggested a tentative date of 21-26 November 1994 for the meeting. The
representative of the Unesco Director-General, Mr. Bouchenaki, thanked the
THAI representative for their kind offer, a sentiment that was echoed by
the applause of the Committee members.

GERMANY offered to host the 1995 meeting of the Committee, either in
Potsdam or at another World Heritage site. The Committee welcomed this


Mr. von Droste announced the receipt of Vietnam's tentative list,
clearing the way for the inscription of the Complex of Hue Monuments [see
opening paragraphs, above].

COLOMBIA wanted to know how the World Heritage Convention was being
interpreted in the light of the Rio Conference, particularly its
interaction with the Biodiversity Convention and other environmental
instruments. The director of the Centre responded that both the Centre and
UNESCO were actively following up the potential links between the World
Heritage Convention and other Secretariats, and he believed there should
indeed be more interaction. They had taken advantage of the GEF meeting
next door and had had several constructive meetings.

SPAIN announced that an expert meeting on cultural itineraries would
be held in 1994 in conjunction with the new World Heritage site, the Route
of Santiago de Compostela.

FRANCE then introduced a draft resolution referring to the
destruction of cultural heritage in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The delegate noted
that Mostar, whose centuries-old bridge had been deliberately destroyed
several weeks earlier, was on Yugoslavia's tentative list of sites meriting
World Heritage designation. GERMANY strongly supported the French proposal,
recalling the stand that the Committee had taken in 1991 regarding
Dubrovnik. ITALY also supported the declaration, but thought that it could
be strengthened by adding that such destruction amounts to a grave breach
of international law, referring to the 1954 Hague Convention. The
Declaration as amended received the unanimous support of the Committee and
was adopted [see third paragraph at the opening of this newsletter].

The observer from CANADA announced that in September 1994 an expert
meeting would be held in Ottawa on canals of heritage value.
Representatives of those known countries with significant heritage
transportation canals -- Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Ireland,
Madagascar, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States--
were being contacted to identify experts. Delegates who knew of other areas
that should be represented were urged to contact the Canadian observer.

The UNITED STATES delegate called the Committee's attention to the
document on "Global and Thematic Studies" which the Committee had been
unable to address at this session. He urged that the Committee encourage
ICOMOS to continue to develop a consensus on this topic.

Dr. Henry Cleere, the ICOMOS Coordinator, called the Committee's
attention to the changes taking place in Potsdam as a result of the
forthcoming move of the German capital to Berlin. Mr. von Droste confirmed
that Potsdam and its gardens was seriously threatened by the transformation
of the whole Berlin-Potsdam area. GERMANY agreed that this was of great
concern to their delegation, and they were currently considering how to
extend the site in certain places to mitigate the worst effects of this
development. They welcomed the collaboration of ICOMOS in this

The morning session concluded about noon. A draft copy of a report of
the meeting was distributed to delegates and observers at 3:30, and the
meeting reconvened at 5:10 to allow the Centre to take the corrections of
delegates. After less than an hour of comments, the report was declared
adopted as amended at 5:52 pm. Mr. von Droste, for the World Heritage
Centre, and the former Chair of the Committee, the UNITED STATES delegate,
expressed the thanks of the Committee to Colcultura, the Colombian
Government, Cartagena, and the staff of the Convention Center for making
the week pass so agreeably.

That concluded the Seventeenth Session of the World Heritage

* * * * * *

This is the sixth and last newsletter to be distributed concerning
the seventeenth session of the World Heritage Committee. For the first time
in the Convention's history, its Committee's deliberations and decisions
have been reported on a daily basis to readers on six continents, using the
medium of the Internet and its connected networks.

One of the recurrent, if implied, themes of the Committee's
deliberations has been transparency -- the intention to open up the
decision-making process and erase any doubt as to the real intentions of
the Committee's actions. Another theme has been promotion: despite the
universality of its cause and the popularity of the Convention among
governments, the World Heritage Convention is less well known than many
more recent environmental instruments, and its sites are often nearly

This experimental distribution of the proceedings of the World
Heritage Committee addresses both these themes. It has carried the workings
of the Committee far beyond the Convention Hall in which the meetings took
place. More importantly, it is a clear opportunity to bring the importance
of heritage conservation to a new global audience.

We would welcome any comments on this means of distribution. In
particular, we would be pleased to know if you have passed on the
newsletters to other distribution media, whether mailing lists, newsgroups,
or bulletin board systems. Write to

The newsletters, as well as other documents pertaining to the World
Heritage Convention are available in the gopher of the Institute for Global
Communications (IGC) at under the general topic "Environment."

A number of people assisted in getting this project off the ground
and deserve acknowledgement. At IGC, Michael Stein, Charlie Rosenberg, Tom
Grey; at the Canadian National Committee of ICOMOS, Steve Nickerson and
Herb Stovel; and at the U.S. National Park Service, Richard Cook. My thanks
to all.

Peter Stott
Distribution coordinator

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 (617) 627-3694.