World Heritage 1994 Phuket Meeting

Peter Stott (pstott@PEG.APC.ORG)
Wed, 14 Dec 1994 07:11:37 +1000

/* Written 10:34 PM Dec 12, 1994 by igc:pstott in peg:gen.landmarks */

P H U K E T, T H A I L A N D '94
A daily report covering the activities of the World Heritage
Committee, meeting in Phuket, Thailand, December 12-17, 1994
Vol. III, No. 1 Monday, Dec. 12
Key agenda items:
** Election of Chairman and Vice-Chairmen
** Report on Activities Undertaken by the Secretariat
** Report of the Rapporteur on the Bureau Meeting of Dec. 9-10
** Promotion and Fund Raising for World Heritage
** Medium-Term Plan, 1996-2001



PHUKET, THAILAND. The eighteenth session of the World Heritage
Committee opened this morning in the Conference Center of the Meridien
Hotel on Phuket Island. Ms. Olga Pizano, the outgoing President of the
Committee, called the meeting to order. After thanking the Royal Thai
Government for inviting the committee to Phuket, the chair invited Dr.
Preecha Musikul, Thai Deputy Minister of Science and Technology to speak on
behalf of the host county. In welcoming the delegates, Dr. Musikul recalled
that Thailand had been a member of the Committee since 1989. The Minister
complemented the Committee for its success in implementing the goals of the
Convention, and in a demonstration of its own support for the objectives of
the convention, would contribute 300,000 baht over and above its regular

On behalf of the Director General of UNESCO, Federico Mayor, the Deputy
Director of UNESCO, Mr. Adnan Badran addressed the delegates. After
thanking the delegate from Colombia for a very successful meeting in
Cartagena a year ago, and the Royal Thai Government for its invitation and
warm welcome, Mr. Badran drew the attention of the Committee to requests
made to the Director General a year ago. Since that time, funding and staff
levels for the World Heritage Centre had been increased, a proposal for
functional autonomy for the Centre had been developed, and a professionally
designed marketing strategy had been prepared --all of which would be
further discussed over the next several days.

Item No. 2, the adoption of the Agenda of the Meeting, was adopted without
amendment by the Committee.

** Election of Chairman and Vice-Chairmen
The election of a new chairman next occupied the attention of the
Committee. The United States delegate nominated the chair of the Thai
delegation, Dr. Adul Wichiencharoen, a man of wide experience and
professional achievements even prior to his long role with the World
Heritage Committee. Dr. Wichiencharoen had been a former member of the
Executive board of Unesco, legal advisor to the Thai Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, Dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Thammasat University, and
Professor of Social Planning at the United Nations Asian Institute for
Economic Development and Planning. Today, in addition to his role as chair
of the Thai delegation, Dr. Wichienecharoen was Chief of Division IV,
Council of State; Chairman of the National Committee on the Convention for
the Protection of World Heritage; chairman of subcommittees on Land Use and
Natural Resources and Marine and Coastal Resources for the National
Environment Board; and a member of the National Commission for Unesco. Dr.
Wichiencharoen's nomination was further supported by the delegates from
Oman and Japan. There being unanimous agreement, Ms. Pizano then asked Dr.
Wichiencharoen to take the chair.
Dr. Wichiencharoen expressed his gratitude to the Committee for the
election, which he took as a gesture of "warm feelings, friendliness, and
confidence" given by the Committee to the Thai government and to Thailand.
In acknowledging the significant and onerous work ahead, he recognized the
efforts of the outgoing chair, Ms. Pizano, in assisting the committee to
reach fruitful deliberations. He asked for the cooperation and assistance
of other members of the Committee in carrying out his task over the next

After the coffee break, the meeting took up the election of Vice
Chairpersons. The delegate from France, noting the consensus developed
during the break, nominated Colombia and Germany (as hosts of the previous
and forthcoming Committee meetings), Italy, Oman, and Senegal. As
Rapporteur, France nominated the delegate from China, Mr. Zhang. The
recommendations by France were further supported by statements from Peru,
Japan, and Lebanon. There being no further discussion, the chair declared
the delegates elected and invited Mr. Zhang to the podium as the session's

** Report on Activities Undertaken by the Secretariat
Item No. 4 on the Agenda was the report by the Director of the World
Heritage Centre, Dr. Bernd von Droste on the activities undertaken by the
Secretariat since the previous session of the Committee in Cartagena. In
his opening remarks, he welcomed the three new states which had ratified
the convention since the meeting in December 1993: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan,
and Myanmar, bringing the total number of States Parties to the Convention
to 139.

In his review of the activities of the Centre, the director called
attention to six issues:
* Global strategy and thematic studies. Five expert meetings had been
held to address the existing regional and thematic imbalances in the
World Heritage List so as to ensure the List's continued
representativity. Last year, more than half the nominations received
were from European countries. The inadequacy of the tentative lists
was another cause of the List's imbalance, and the Director noted
that only 33 State Parties had valid tentative lists on file with the
Centre. Decentralization was one means of providing improved
assistance to different regions.
* Systematic monitoring. The Centre had made considerable progress in
refining the methodology required for a systematic monitoring
program, noting that ultimately this monitoring was the
responsibility of States parties, pursued where appropriate with the
advice and involvement of external expertise. A draft text on
monitoring, prepared for inclusion in the Operational Guidelines,
would be reviewed by the Committee later in the week.
* Emergency Assistance. The director noted the completely unexpected
demand on the new Emergency Assistance Fund established at the
Cartagena meeting. As a result of these demands, more than 60 percent
of the fund had already spent, and the Centre appealed to States to
help replenish these funds. In particular, Dr. von Droste called
attention to the situation in Zaire, where refugees in Rwanda had
established camps within and along the borders of two World Heritage
parks. The resulting massive deforestation that was occuring was
destroying the last native habitat of the mountain gorilla. Although
other agencies including the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and
refugee organizations had contributed to a fund to relocate the
refugees, funds were insufficient to satisfactorily alleviate the
situation. The war in the Balkans continued to threaten two World
Heritage Sites in the former Yugoslavia: Plitvice Lakes and
Dubrovnik. In the Galapagos Islands, emergency funds had contributed
to the rescue of giant sea tortoises from a devastating fire.
* Awareness Building. The Centre had been working in four different
domains. Dr. von Droste called attention to one of the principal
vehicles of news about the Convention and World Heritage sites, the
World Heritage Newsletter, which was supported by Norway. In
addition, the Centre's first joint project with Unesco's Education
sector, the new "Young People's Participation in World Heritage
Preservation and Promotion," was conducted with several Unesco
National Commissions and external partners. The Centre had also been
working to improve its databases and was considering future plans to
link these databases with the Internet. A meeting to discuss the
improvement in the type of information available to States Parties
was planned for early in 1995. Particularly important for monitoring
was the development of baseline data, which currently did not exist.
* Fund-raising from the private sector. Mr. Charles de Haes, the
Director General's Special Advisor on promotion and fundraising,
would make a presentation on this subject during the afternoon
* Autonomy and Decentralization. The Centre welcomed the strong support
of Unesco, which within several years would be covering all staff
expenses. The agency's goal was to be able to say that every dollar
paid in by State's parties flowed directly to heritage sites. Dr. von
Droste called attention to the generous support provided by States
Parties for particular specialists. Functional autonomy would allow
the Centre greater administrative and financial flexibility; it had
been a request of the last Committee meeting to streamline the
Committee's administrative procedures and provide for full
transparency in budgetary matters. The Director General's proposal on
this subject would be reviewed by this Committee over the next
several days. Decentralization would further enhance the Centre's
work, by enabling World Heritage offices to be established in regions
where the Centre had been unable to act in the past due to geographic

At the conclusion of the Director's remarks, the Chair reiterated the
serious need of the Centre for increased support from States parties, and
appealed to major donors to continue to increase their donations.

** Report of the Rapporteur on the Bureau Meeting of Dec. 9-10
The Rapporteur for the Bureau's meeting on December 9th and 10th was
presented by Mr. Zhang. The Bureau examined 30 properties and five boundary
extensions. Of the nominations being proposed for inscription to the full
committee, 22 were cultural and 8 were natural sites. Forty-four
monitoring reports were examined by the Bureau in July and would be
presented to the committee for their review. Requests for international
assistance were also reviewed and would also be presented to the full
Committee later in the week.

The last item on the morning's agenda was the constitution of two working
groups. Two were proposed: (1) on budgetary proposals and the operation of
the Centre; and (2) on revision to the Operational Guidelines. The chair
invited delegates to register for these working groups during the break for
lunch. After some discussion of the tasks of each, the Chair appointed the
United States delegate, Mr. Rob Milne, as chair of Working Group 1 and the
Colombian delegate, Ms. Olga Pizano, as chair of Working Group 2.

The Committee adjourned for a luncheon recess at 12:15.

** Promotion and Fund Raising for World Heritage
The afternoon session was devoted to two issues, both of which stimulated
extended comment. The first item was the presentation by Mr. Charles de
Haes, Special Advisor to the Director General, on Promoting and Fundraising
for World Heritage. Mr. De Haes had been part of a successful campaign to
raise $10 million for the World Wildlife Fund. In his opening remarks, Mr.
de Haes observed that in most countries, World Heritage was not known at
all; and that in traveling, he had never seen a single sign referring to
World Heritage. He added, however, that he was very doubtful that his
suggestions could be carried out, so great were the jurisdictional issues
between different sectors inside and outside of UNESCO.

Referring to his executive summary, Mr. de Haes noted that there was
substantial medium and long-term potential for raising money from the
private sector for the World Heritage Fund and for promoting the World
Heritage Convention, provided that: a) the world heritage 'concept' could
be developed as a marketable product (not just individual sites); b) that
more definitive conservation and education objectives are set and
publicized for World Heritage; c) that the approach to all aspects of
implementation of the Convention be fully integrated, perhaps initially
under a new separate UNESCO unit, but ultimately under the Centre; and d)
that strict financial accountability be observed in respect of income
raised for, and expenditures from, the World Heritage Fund. Among his core
recommendations was that the existing World Heritage logo either be made
more relevant, or replaced by an more marketable and emotive logo,
representative of cultural and natural sites around the world. The logo
should be owned by the World Heritage Committee, who could license its use
for activities and products relevant to world heritage. Mr. de Haes
concluded with a slide presentation showing alternative logo designs. The
problem with the existing logo, he said, was that no one knew what it
meant; it was sterile and lacked emotion. An alternative design, a green
leaf resting on a block of ashlar stone, was much more identifiable.

When the Chair opened the floor to questions, several comments concerned
the fear that in definining world heritage as a distinct entity, it would
be loosing the advantage of Unesco's visibility. The delegate from France
called attention to Unesco's ample visibility, and that more use should be
made of this link. He recalled that the Bureau in July had specially
directed that all logo studies integrate Unesco and World Heritage. Jean-
Louis Luxen, Secretary General of ICOMOS, felt that too little attention
was paid to the need for coherence within Unesco. World Heritage should be
promoted in tandem with other Unesco campaigns. In particular, the medium-
term plan proposed by the Centre called for a "transversal approach" that
would unite the different sectors of Unesco, and so capture the natural
synergy of the organization. Italy spoke along the same lines: Unesco
functioned not as the sum of many actions, but through unity in action. It
was inappropriate to study the question of an independent image for World
Heritage until a full study had been made of the role of the Centre. About
the old logo -- perhaps the Committee simply needs to publicize it better.
Germany asked whether the market for raising new funds might not be
limited; and in any case there was competition for funding, even at
individual world heritage sites. Who would coordinate these activities? The
Tunisian observer expressed the fear that a strong cultural heritage fund-
raising campaign might lessen support for similar campaigns for other
cultural sites. Both Lebanon and Brazil expressed fears about
commercialization in general. The World Heritage Committee is an inter-
governmental organization and must retain its transparency; privatization
might raise difficulties for several governments. Brazil rejected the
notion of making the logo a trademark, suggesting that the logo should be
seen as a symbolic translation of a philosophy.

Mr. de Haes responded by recalling that the Committee in Santa Fe had
requested a successful marketing strategy, and that marketing of necessity
implied commercial activities. He denied that there was any attempt to
separate World Heritage from Unesco, but it was totally wrong to mix the
images, which would only confuse the public. As to whether there was a
sufficient market for a new campaign, he assured the delegates that world
heritage was such a good concept to sell, that it certainly could make
money. And a strong world heritage campaign, by educating the public to the
value of the cultural and natural heritage, would have benefits for all
conservation efforts. While there was no intent to run a campaign counter
to the interests of other Unesco sectors, he did note that there was a
serious lack of communication between the different Unesco agencies. It was
very important that all interested sectors work together.

The Chair, Dr. Wichiencharoen, observed that at the recent Hague Convention
meeting in Paris, it was also very apparent that different sectors had
different concerns and that the different agencies and individuals involved
should get together to reach consensus. The Chair took the opportunity to
advance the possibility of a worldwide logo competition, noting the
positive publicity it would generate would in itself be a superb
advertisement for world heritage. Desiring to move ahead on the afternoon
agenda, he urged that further specific questions might be directed to Mr.
de Haes, who had offered to make himself available for the remainder of the

Mr. Badran thanked Mr. de Haes, reiterating the strong links between Unesco
and World Heritage. Matters inside the House could be solved, he said; but
it was important that the Committee move forward. Despite the increased
funding Unesco was providing it was not nearly enough. New innovative,
market solutions need to be found.

** Medium-Term Plan, 1996-2001
The final presentation of the afternoon was by Dr. von Droste, on the
Medium-Term Plan, 1996-2001. Although the plan, prepared as the Centre's
contribution to Unesco's Medium-term plan, had been approved by the Bureau,
the Centre also wanted the views of the Committee.

The director called attention to several key elements of the plan:
1) Completion of the World Heritage List, giving special attention to
balancing its composition so that it truly reflects human heritage.
2) Monitoring the state of conservation of sites, using methods that are
systematic, decentralized, and where possible, preventative.
3) Mobilization of international assistance funds using bilateral and
multilateral mechanisms. The Director hoped that all states would
follow the example of Thailand. Partnerships should be further
explored, not only within Unesco, but with outside organizations and
4) Increased use of promotional and educational activities, not simply
to identify sites but to demonstrate the value of sites. At most
sites there is no on-going promotional activity. But with more than a
million visitors world-wide, there was a formidable potential

Two major lines of actions could be derived from these plans: One line
concerned developing the intellectual content behind world heritage; to
eliminate the strong division between monuments and vernacular
construction; and further articulate the links between man and nature. The
second line emphasized a decentralized approach to problems, allowing
greater involvement by States Parties and individuals and by using the
resources offered by states parties. From these major lines were derived a
threefold action:
* a decentralized, centrifugal movement, from the center outward;
* a centripetal movement, allowing a convergence of knowledge and
information on the Centre; and
* a transversal movement, allowing transectoral working collaboration
with different Unesco units and other organizations. World Heritage
becomes the "federative and mobilizing concept."

Both Germany and Senegal concurred with the positions stated. Germany
noted that the trend to include non-monumental cultural heritage introduced
new problems and implications. Further discussion of the paper could
usefully be assigned to Working Group 2, a proposal with which the Chair
concurred. France urged that the plan for regional action be studied with
extreme care.

ICOMOS also warmly endorsed the document, indicating that it would promote
enthusiasm among its members. The representative noted the reference to
increased risk which world heritage runs today, and reminded the Committee
that risk-preparedness was already a focus of ICOMOS. The Blue Shield Plan
being developed was one area for cooperation between Unesco and ICOMOS.
The discussion of intellectual content was especially significant.
Conservation must go beyond site management; other doctrinal discussions
could also be documented by heritage. On the issue of promotion, the ICOMOS
representative noted the key importance of communication and its rapid
improvement. ICOMOS offered to help the Centre in this regard, noting that
the organization had already been working with the Internet. In the ICOMOS
delegation, he added, Mr. Peter Stott from Tufts University, had been
posting to the Internet the deliberations of this committee. ICOMOS had
already made available to the Internet its doctrinal charters; as a result,
he reported, they had been consulted more in one week on the Internet than
in a year in the Paris Documentation Centre.

Dr. von Droste thanked the ICOMOS representative for the reference to
Internet and added that the Centre planned a major meeting on information
management early in 1995. He recalled that while this new communication was
important for the public, it was of even more value to site managers, who
should all be connected to fax and electronic mail networks.

The IUCN representative noted that there was an excellent opportunity for
partnership with the Biodiversity Convention, which also supports a
regional concept. For instance, cooperation with the South Pacific Regional
Environmental Program might help build up state membership in the World
Heritage Convention among the South Pacific states.

The Chair recalled the dilemma expressed by Germany: could a strategic plan
be developed to close the gap between cultural and natural policy?
Inclusion of vernacular structures in the World heritage would only widen
it further. The chair also noted the advantages of linking the World
Heritage and Hague Conventions, so as to better protect World Heritage
sites. He hoped that the Working Group might also consider these issues.

The Chair then adjourned the meeting until 9 am the following morning.




W o r l d H e r i t a g e C o m m i t t e e
------ XVIII Annual Session, Phuket, Thailand, December 12-17, 1994 ------
This distribution is made possible through grants from the Samuel H. Kress
Foundation; the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training;
the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy; and Tufts University's School of
Arts and Sciences. It has been organized with the support of the Inter-
national Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and its Canadian and U.S.
national committees, ICOMOS Canada and US/ICOMOS. It has had the technical
support of the Pegasus Networks (Australia) and the Institute for Global
Communications (U.S.).
The reports are those of an observer of the meetings and do not represent
official publications of ICOMOS, the World Heritage Centre, or any dele-
Inquiries to the editor, Peter Stott
<> or fax to (66-76) 340-479 between December 12 and 17