The ICOMOS procedure for evaluating nominations to the World Heritage List

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The ICOMOS procedure is described in Annex 6 of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention. It is regulated by the Policy for the implementation of the ICOMOS World Heritage mandate (latest revision in October 2012). This policy makes public the existing procedure, and sets out the fair, transparent and credible approach ICOMOS adopts in fulfilling its world heritage remit, and the way it avoids conflicts of interest.

The evaluation of nominations is coordinated by the World Heritage Unit of the International Secretariat of ICOMOS, in collaboration with the ICOMOS World Heritage Working Group and the ICOMOS World Heritage Panel.

The ICOMOS World Heritage Working Group consists of officers of ICOMOS, the World Heritage Unit and ICOMOS advisers. It meets two or three times a year, and is responsible for the guidance and orientation of work relating to the World Heritage.

The ICOMOS World Heritage Panel, which brings together some thirty persons, is made up of members of the ICOMOS Executive Committee and of experts who are invited each year depending on the nature of the properties nominated (rock art, 20th century heritage, industrial heritage, etc.). TICCIH and DoCoMoMo are also invited to participate in discussions in which their expertise is relevant. The Panel represents the various professional, geographic and cultural sensibilities present at the international level. It prepares the ICOMOS recommendations for each nomination on a collegial basis.   

For each nominated property, ICOMOS assesses:

  • whether it bears testimony of an outstanding universal value:
  • whether it meets the criteria of the Operational Guidelines;
  • whether it meets the conditions of authenticity and integrity;whether legal protection is adequate;
  • whether the management processes are satisfactory.

All properties are given equal attention, and ICOMOS also makes every effort to be as objective, scientific and rigorous as possible.

In order to reinforce consistency of the evaluations and recommendations, and to check which additional information requests should be sent to State Parties, ICOMOS uses a check box tool. In addition, a specific session with the advisers is organised to ensure consistency of approach on all aspects throughout all evaluations.

An external review of the principles, methods and procedures used by ICOMOS in evaluating nominations was carried out in 2009. The final report and the ICOMOS response were made available to the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session.

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