World Heritage Committee

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Logo of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee World Heritage Logo global.svg
Logo of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee

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. [1] It comprises representatives from 21 state parties [2] [1] that are elected by the General Assembly of States Parties for a four-year term. [3] 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. [3] All members elected at the 15th General Assembly (2005) voluntarily chose to reduce their term of office from six to four years. [3]

Deliberations of the World Heritage Committee are aided by three advisory bodies, the IUCN, ICOMOS and ICCROM. [4] [5]


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. [3] Extraordinary meetings can be convened at the request of two-thirds of the state members. [6] 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. [6]

Session [7] YearDateHost city
1197727 June–1 July Flag of France.svg Paris
219785 September–8 September Flag of the United States.svg Washington, D.C.
3197922 October–26 October Flag of Egypt (1972-1984).svg Cairo & Luxor
419801 September–5 September Flag of France.svg Paris
5198126 October–30 October Flag of Australia (converted).svg Sydney
6198213 December–17 December Flag of France.svg Paris
719835 December–9 December Flag of Italy.svg Florence
8198429 October–2 November Flag of Argentina.svg Buenos Aires
919852 December–6 December Flag of France.svg Paris
10198624 November–28 November Flag of France.svg Paris
1119877 December–11 December Flag of France.svg Paris
1219885 December–9 December Flag of Brazil.svg Brasília
13198911 December–15 December Flag of France.svg Paris
1419907 December–12 December Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Banff
1519919 December–13 December Flag of Tunisia.svg Carthage
1619927 December–14 December Flag of the United States.svg Santa Fe
1719936 December–11 December Flag of Colombia.svg Cartagena
18199412 December–17 December Flag of Thailand.svg Phuket
1919954 December–9 December Flag of Germany.svg Berlin
2019962 December–7 December Flag of Mexico.svg Mérida
2119971 December–6 December Flag of Italy.svg Naples
22199830 November–5 December Flag of Japan.svg Kyoto
23199929 November–4 December Flag of Morocco.svg Marrakech
24200027 November–2 December Flag of Australia (converted).svg Cairns
25200111 December–16 December Flag of Finland.svg Helsinki
26200224 June–29 June Flag of Hungary.svg Budapest
27200330 June–5 July Flag of France.svg Paris
28200428 June–7 July Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Suzhou
29200510 July–17 July Flag of South Africa.svg Durban
3020068 July–16 July Flag of Lithuania.svg Vilnius
31200723 June–1 July Flag of New Zealand.svg Christchurch
3220082 July–10 July Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Quebec City
33200922 June–30 June Flag of Spain.svg Seville
34201025 July–3 August Flag of Brazil.svg Brasília
35201119 June–29 June Flag of France.svg Paris
36201225 June–5 July Flag of Russia.svg Saint Petersburg
37201317 June–27 June Flag of Cambodia.svg Phnom Penh
38201415 June–25 June Flag of Qatar.svg Doha
39201528 June–8 July Flag of Germany.svg Bonn
40201610 July–20 July Flag of Turkey.svg Istanbul
4120172 July–12 July Flag of Poland.svg Kraków
42201824 June–4 July Flag of Bahrain.svg Manama
43201930 June–10 July Flag of Azerbaijan.svg Baku
442020–21Originally scheduled for 2020.
Postponed to an extended 16 July–31 July 2021 session due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Fuzhou
452022Originally 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. [6] 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. [1]


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. [6]


Current members of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee

Member state [10] Mandate
Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 2017–2021
Flag of Bahrain.svg  Bahrain 2017–2021
Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg  Bosnia and Herzegovina 2017–2021
Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil 2017–2021
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China 2017–2021
Flag of Egypt.svg  Egypt 2019–2023
Flag of Ethiopia.svg  Ethiopia 2019–2023
Flag of Guatemala.svg  Guatemala 2017–2021
Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary 2017–2021
Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg  Kyrgyzstan 2017–2021
Flag of Mali.svg  Mali 2019–2023
Flag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria 2019–2023
Flag of Norway.svg  Norway 2017–2021
Flag of Oman.svg  Oman 2019–2023
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 2019–2023
Flag of Saint Kitts and Nevis.svg  Saint Kitts and Nevis 2017–2021
Flag of Saudi Arabia.svg  Saudi Arabia 2019–2023
Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa 2019–2023
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 2017–2021
Flag of Thailand.svg  Thailand 2019–2023
Flag of Uganda.svg  Uganda 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. [11] [12] In 2010, states parties including Hungary, Switzerland and Zimbabwe submitted an official protest against such politicization. [5]

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. [5] 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. [5]

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. [13] [14]

See also

Related Research Articles

World Heritage Site Place of significance listed by UNESCO

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".

International Council on Monuments and Sites Organization

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.

Ramsar Convention International treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands

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.

World Heritage Sites by country Wikipedia list article

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.

Kamakuras proposed World Heritage Sites

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 UNESCO world heritage site

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

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

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.


  1. 1 2 3 UNESCO. "The World Heritage Committee". UNESCO. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  2. According to the UNESCO World Heritage website, States Parties are countries that signed and ratified The World Heritage Convention. As of March 2013, there were a total of 170 State Parties.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "The World Heritage Committee". UNESCO World Heritage Site. Retrieved 2006-10-14.
  4. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. "Advisory Bodies". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Office of the External Auditor for the United Nations Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organization (2011) Independent Evaluation by the UNESCO External Auditor, Volume 1: Implementation of the Global Strategy for the Credible, Balanced and Representative World Heritage List. UNESCO Headquarters, Paris.
  6. 1 2 3 4 UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection of the World Natural and Cultural Heritage (2015) Rules of Procedure. World Heritage Centre, Paris. Download available at (27 June 2019)
  7. "Sessions". UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  8. UNESCO (16 July 2021). "Extended 44th World Heritage Committee session opens in Fuzhou, China". UNESCO. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  9. "UNESCO indefinitely postpones planned world heritage meeting in Russia". The Art Newspaper . 22 April 2022. Retrieved 24 April 2022.
  10. Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "UNESCO World Heritage Centre – 40th session of the Committee". Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  11. Meskell, Lynn (Winter 2014). "States of Conservation: Protection, Politics, and Pacting within UNESCO's World Heritage Committee". Anthropological Quarterly. 87: 217–243. doi:10.1353/anq.2014.0009. S2CID   143628800.
  12. The Economist. 2010. UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites: A Danger List in Danger. Accessed 27 June 2019.
  13. "U.S. to Withdraw From UNESCO. Here's What That Means". 2017-10-12. Retrieved 2020-03-21.
  14. Tress, Luke (2016-10-26). "UNESCO adopts another resolution ignoring Jewish link to Temple Mount". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 2020-03-21.