The ICOMOS procedure for evaluating nominations to the World Heritage List

1 Preparatory work

The preparatory work is done in several stages:

a. Initial study of dossiers: This first stage of the work consists of the creation of an inventory of the nomination dossier documents, a study of them to identify the various issues relating to the property and the choice of the various experts who will be called on to study the dossier (ICOMOS advisers, experts for mission, experts for consultations). A compilation of all relevant comparative material (Tentative Lists, properties already on the World Heritage List, nomination dossiers, “filling the gaps” ICOMOS study, etc.) is prepared in order to assist the work of the advisers on the specific item of comparative analysis.

b. Consultations: Experts are consulted to express their opinion about the comparative analysis and the outstanding universal value of the nominated properties with reference to the ten criteria set out in the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (July 2012), § 77.

For this purpose, ICOMOS calls on the following:

  • ICOMOS International Scientific Committees;
  • Individual ICOMOS members with special expertise, identified after consultation with International and National Committees;
  •  Non-ICOMOS members with specific expertise, identified after consultation within the ICOMOS networks.

c. Technical evaluation missions: As a rule, ICOMOS calls on a person from the region in which the nominated property is located. In certain exceptional circumstances, often in cases in which the nature of the property is unusual, the expert may not originate from the region concerned. The objective of the missions is to study the authenticity, integrity, factors affecting the property, protection, conservation and management (Operational Guidelines, § 78).

Experts are sent a copy of the nomination (or all relevant parts of it, when the dossier is particularly extensive), a note with key questions based on a preliminary examination of the dossiers, documentation on the Convention and detailed guidelines for evaluation missions.

All experts have a duty of confidentiality. Their opinion about the nomination does not necessarily reflect that of the organisation; it is the ICOMOS World Heritage Panel which, after acquainting itself with all the information, analyses it and determines the organisation's position.

Missions are sent to all the nominated properties except in the case of nominations referred back for which the Operational Guidelines do not stipulate that a mission is necessary. (Note: The principle is that properties are referred back because additional information is necessary, and not because thorough or substantial modifications are needed; the deadlines set in the Operational Guidelines mean moreover that it is not possible to organise missions, desk reviews or consideration by the full ICOMOS World Heritage Panel for properties referred back).

For mixed property nominations, technical evaluation missions are carried out jointly with IUCN, and ICOMOS and IUCN exchange information about draft recommendations. Furthermore, ICOMOS consults IUCN on cultural landscape nominations, includes comments received in the evaluations and taken them into account in its recommendations.

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