The World Heritage Committee selects the sites to be listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger, defines the use of the World Heritage Fund and allocates financial assistance upon requests from States Parties.It comprises representatives from 21 state parties that are elected by the General Assembly of States Parties for a four-year term. These parties vote on decisions and proposals related to the World Heritage Convention and World Heritage List.
According to the World Heritage Convention, a committee member's term of office is six years. However many State's Parties choose to voluntarily limit their term to four years, in order to give other States Parties an opportunity to serve.All members elected at the 15th General Assembly (2005) voluntarily chose to reduce their term of office from six to four years.
Deliberations of the World Heritage Committee are aided by three advisory bodies, the IUCN, ICOMOS and ICCROM.
The World Heritage Committee meets once a year for an ordinary session to discuss the management of existing World Heritage Sites, and accept nominations by countries.Extraordinary meetings can be convened at the request of two-thirds of the state members. Meetings are held within the territory of state members of the World Heritage Committee at their invitation. Rotation between regions and cultures is a consideration for selection and the location for the next session is chosen by the committee at the end of each session.
|1||1977||27 June–1 July||Paris|
|2||1978||5 September–8 September||Washington, D.C.|
|3||1979||22 October–26 October||Cairo & Luxor|
|4||1980||1 September–5 September||Paris|
|5||1981||26 October–30 October||Sydney|
|6||1982||13 December–17 December||Paris|
|7||1983||5 December–9 December||Florence|
|8||1984||29 October–2 November||Buenos Aires|
|9||1985||2 December–6 December||Paris|
|10||1986||24 November–28 November||Paris|
|11||1987||7 December–11 December||Paris|
|12||1988||5 December–9 December||Brasília|
|13||1989||11 December–15 December||Paris|
|14||1990||7 December–12 December||Banff|
|15||1991||9 December–13 December||Carthage|
|16||1992||7 December–14 December||Santa Fe|
|17||1993||6 December–11 December||Cartagena|
|18||1994||12 December–17 December||Phuket|
|19||1995||4 December–9 December||Berlin|
|20||1996||2 December–7 December||Mérida|
|21||1997||1 December–6 December||Naples|
|22||1998||30 November–5 December||Kyoto|
|23||1999||29 November–4 December||Marrakech|
|24||2000||27 November–2 December||Cairns|
|25||2001||11 December–16 December||Helsinki|
|26||2002||24 June–29 June||Budapest|
|27||2003||30 June–5 July||Paris|
|28||2004||28 June–7 July||Suzhou|
|29||2005||10 July–17 July||Durban|
|30||2006||8 July–16 July||Vilnius|
|31||2007||23 June–1 July||Christchurch|
|32||2008||2 July–10 July||Quebec City|
|33||2009||22 June–30 June||Seville|
|34||2010||25 July–3 August||Brasília|
|35||2011||19 June–29 June||Paris|
|36||2012||25 June–5 July||Saint Petersburg|
|37||2013||17 June–27 June||Phnom Penh|
|38||2014||15 June–25 June||Doha|
|39||2015||28 June–8 July||Bonn|
|40||2016||10 July–20 July||Istanbul|
|41||2017||2 July–12 July||Kraków|
|42||2018||24 June–4 July||Manama|
|43||2019||30 June–10 July||Baku|
|44||2020–21||Originally scheduled for 2020.|
Postponed to an extended 16 July–31 July 2021 session due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
|45||2022||Originally scheduled for 19 June–30 June in Kazan, Russia.|
Postponed indefinitely due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
At the end of each ordinary session, the committee elects a chairperson, five vice-chairpersons and a Rapporteur from those members whose term will continue through the next session.These are known as the Bureau, and their representatives are responsible for coordinating the work of the World Heritage Committee, including fixing dates, hours and the order of business meetings.
Each state member of the World Heritage Committee has one vote. Decisions require a simple majority with abstentions counted as not voting. Votes are delivered by a show of hands unless a secret ballot is requested by either the chairperson or two or more states members.
Current members of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||2017–2021|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||2017–2021|
Increasing politicization of World Heritage Committee decisions to the detriment of conservation aims has been alleged, particularly with regard to new nominations for the World Heritage List, but also with the consideration of sites for the List of World Heritage in Danger.In 2010, states parties including Hungary, Switzerland and Zimbabwe submitted an official protest against such politicization.
An external audit requested by the World Heritage Committee for its Global Strategy of the World Heritage List concluded in 2011 that political considerations were indeed influencing decisions.It observed that the composition of committee representatives had shifted from experts to diplomats in spite of World Heritage Convention Article 9 and found that opinions from advisory bodies often diverged from World Heritage Committee decisions.
In 2016, Israel recalled its UNESCO ambassador after the World Heritage Committee adopted a resolution in a secret ballot that referred to one of Jerusalem's holiest sites, the Temple Mount, only as a “Muslim holy site of worship,” not mentioning that Jews and Christians venerate the site.
A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for having cultural, historical, scientific or other form of significance. The sites are judged to contain "cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity".
The International Council on Monuments and Sites is a professional association that works for the conservation and protection of cultural heritage places around the world. Now headquartered in Charenton-le-Pont, France, ICOMOS was founded in 1965 in Warsaw as a result of the Venice Charter of 1964, and offers advice to UNESCO on World Heritage Sites.
The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. It is also known as the Convention on Wetlands. It is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran, where the convention was signed in 1971.
As of July 2021, there are a total of 1,154 World Heritage Sites located in 167 States Parties, of which 897 are cultural, 218 are natural and 39 are mixed properties. The countries have been divided by the World Heritage Committee into five geographic zones: Africa, Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and North America, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Italy, with 58 entries, has the highest number of World Heritage Sites. 27 state parties have no properties inscribed on the World Heritage List: Bahamas, Bhutan, Brunei, Burundi, Comoros, Cook Islands, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Kuwait, Liberia, Maldives, Monaco, Niue, Rwanda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Timor-Leste, Tonga, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Kamakura, Home of the Samurai is a grouping of historic sites concentrated in and around the Japanese city of Kamakura, near Tokyo. The city gave its name to the Kamakura shogunate which governed the country during the Kamakura period (1185-1333). In 1992 the monuments were submitted jointly for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List under criteria i, ii, iii, iv, and vi.
Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe is a transnational serial nature UNESCO World Heritage Site, encompassing 94 component parts in 18 European countries.
Pimachiowin Aki is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the boreal forest that covers parts of Manitoba and Ontario. The site is more than 29,000 square kilometres (11,000 sq mi) in area, and includes ancestral lands of four First Nations including Poplar River First Nation, Little Grand Rapids First Nation, Pauingassi First Nation, and Bloodvein First Nation. The area also includes the Manitoba Provincial Wilderness Park of Atikaki Provincial Park and the Ontario Woodland Caribou Provincial Park. The World Heritage Site's original proposal started with the signing of the Protected Areas and First Nation Resource Stewardship Accord in 2002. The name means land that gives life in Ojibwe.
The Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention are a series of instructions to signatory nations regarding the proper implementation of the 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. The guidelines were adopted by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee at its first session and amended at its second session in 1978.
Warsaw recommendation on recovery and reconstruction of cultural heritage is a document from 2018 constituting a comprehensive set of principles concerning the process of urban reconstruction and reconstruction of historic buildings or complexes of buildings destroyed as a result of armed conflicts or natural disasters.
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