Final Report - ICOMOS World Heritage Advisers - Expressions of Interest

Final Report by Toshiyuki Kono, ICOMOS President

As follow up to the Interim Report prepared in January 2020, I am pleased to present the final report on the Process of seeking Expressions of Interest for ICOMOS World Heritage Advisers.

First, I would like to share some general statistics as regards the applications received in response to the call for expression of interest a total of 353 applications were submitted by the deadline.

In terms of gender representation, 47% of applicants were male and 53% of applicants were female.

In terms of geographical representation[1], 8% of applicants came from Africa, 10% of applicants from the Arab States, 11% applicants from Latin America, 18% applicants from Asia and Pacific and 53% applicants from Europe and North America.

In terms of areas of expertise, 38% of applicants were Architects (including Architecture and Urban Planning, Urbanism, Conservation Architects, Landscape Architects), 13% were Archaeologists (including rock art experts, underwater archaeology, archaeological conservation, preventive archaeology, etc), 9% were specialist in Conservation, Historic Preservation and World Heritage Studies, 7% were Historians (including Art and Architectural Historians), 4% were specialists in Tourism related activities, 3% were Engineers, 3% were Anthropologists and 25% were experts in other areas such as lawyers, economists, journalist, psychologists, masons, philosophers, geographers, language teachers, interpreters.

As announced on the interim report, a batch of “first round criteria” allowed to filter the applications, candidates not fulfilling the requirements established by the call for expressions of interest or having a potential conflict of interest, such as: work for their UNESCO National Commissions or in national positions directly representing States Parties to the World Heritage Convention were excluded from the process.

A reduced list of candidates was examined by the Selection Committee. The Selection Committee, was composed by eight members and included ICOMOS Board members, senior advisors and international experts and ensuring the regional representation. The members of the Selection Committee are as follows: Mr. Peter Phillips, ICOMOS Secretary General, Ms. Laura Robinson, ICOMOS Treasurer, Ms. Hatthaya Siriphatthanakun, ICOMOS Board Member, Mr. Alfredo Conti, International Expert, former ICOMOS World Heritage Panel co-Chairperson, Ms. Luisa De Marco, ICOMOS Senior Advisor, Ms. Susan Denyer, ICOMOS Senior Advisor, Mr. Yukio Nishimura, International Expert, Mr. Tamas Fejerdy, International Expert.

The Selection Committee established a twenty candidates short-list. Selected candidates were asked to take a ‘test’ which closely resembles the task of Advisers working on nominations. Tests sent to applicants were either in English or French, according to their language skills.

The twenty candidates short-list consisted of:

  • 4 men and 16 women;
  • 9 architects, 5 archaeologists, and 4 conservation/heritage/historic preservation experts and 2 anthropologists;
  • 9 from Europe/North America, 3 from Latin America and the Caribbean, 3 from the Arab States, 2 from Africa and 3 from Asia-Pacific – although some of them are not currently resident in their home country due to professional work elsewhere;
  • people with very diverse and substantial experience, including international professional work;
  • colleagues that have performed various tasks for ICOMOS and/or UNESCO and are therefore familiar with the context and concepts of the work;
  • All claimed excellent language skills in either English or French, some claimed to have working competences in both, numerous other languages are also within the competencies of the group, including Spanish, German, Japanese, Italian, Korean, Dutch, Kreol, Chinese, Portuguese, Arabic, Hindi, Polish, Romanian, Hungarian, etc.

They are all outstanding professional.

Of the twenty people who were invited to take the ‘test’, 1 withdrew, 1 did not send back the test, and 18 submitted their work. These were reviewed in terms of the adequacy of the approach to a draft evaluation, demonstrated knowledge of the World Heritage context, completeness, attention to deadlines, clarity and logic of the recommendations and conclusions, coherent arguments and analyses, ability to synthesise the different materials (nomination dossier, mission report, desk review, supplementary information), and written language ability.

Tests were reviewed and noted by the Selection Committee and the World Heritage Evaluation Unit team anonymously. A selection of nine candidates were interviewed by Ms. Bourdin, Director of the World Heritage Evaluation Unit, Ms. Lavenir, ICOMOS Director General and myself in early February.

I am pleased to announce that 6 candidates have been selected as follows:

  • two men and four women;
  • one conservation and heritage management expert from Asia, one architect and heritage management expert from Latin America, one archaeologist and anthropologist from Africa, one heritage management expert from North America and one archaeologist from Europe working in Africa and one architect and conservation and heritage management expert from Europe;
  • the final selected candidates claim excellent language skills in either English or French or both. In addition, all of them have knowledge of one or more languages including: Spanish, German, Japanese, Italian, Kreol, Chinese, Arabic and Polish.

Chosen candidates will be part of a mentoring and training programme and will be asked to work on the 2020/2021 World Heritage Nominations cycle.

I hope that this core nominations team will stay with the work for more than 1 year (depending on the individual performances), since the induction of new Advisers is a very costly process in terms of our staff time and officer resources.

Finally, while the process has not been perfect and should be the subject of further discussion (and we learned a few things to improve next time), we got a lot of very positive feedback from the membership that this was openly done. It is a start, but one that was very intensive in workload terms. I hope that in critically reviewing the process with us, you will join me in sincerely thanking the staff of the Evaluation Unit for their support and hard work.

Toshiyuki Kono

ICOMOS President /Co-Chair of the ICOMOS World Heritage Panel

April 2020

[1] The geographical representation regions are defined by UNESCO regions.

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