A shift towards rights-based approaches in the Operational Guidelines

Baku Viaggio Routard FlickrAt the 43rd Session of the World Heritage Committee (held in Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan 30 June – 10 July 2019) the Operational Guidelines of World Heritage Convention were revised. The Decision 43 COM 11 A Revision of the Operational Guidelines (OG) was based on the OCDI-RBA Working Group contribution. The revised World Heritage Operational Guidelines now encourage State Parties to adopt a human rights-based approach.

A meaningful change of wording

The wording of article 12 is a milestone for the “Our Common Dignity Initiative”:States Parties to the Convention are encouraged to adopt a human rights based approach, and ensure gender-balanced participation of a wide variety of stakeholders and rights-holders, including site managers, local and regional governments, local communities, indigenous peoples, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other interested parties and partners in the identification, nomination, management and protection processes of World Heritage properties.

The term "Rights" has been included in the OG part B article 12, 14, 64, 111 and 117, and local communities are included in several paragraphs: 

"Participation in the nomination process of local communities /…/ is essential to enable them to have a shared responsibility with the State Party in the maintenance of the property. States Parties are encouraged /…./ to demonstrate, as appropriate, that the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples has been obtained  (Annex 1, Part A, 123)"



Decision 43 COM 11 A Revision of the Operational Guidelines (OG) Picto doigt

Picto doigtOperational Guidelines - history of versions and downloads

Photo : Viaggio Routard / Flickr

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