The world is not made up only of superhonest countries
My point exactly, the UNESCO Committee will only be as efficient, diligent, scientific, transparent, and/or reliable as the Global community at large. We know Russian will host the 45th WHC in Kazan. Additionally, Russia has submitted a nomination for 2022: Historic center of Gorokhovets
Based on the two reviews posted, there are potentially some major challenges toward inscription, at least based on surface level reading. "Unfortunately, the whole town was a work in progress - churches were being reconstructed . . . "
- Martina Ruckova 2018"While there is this tourist office, this town is by no means ready for tourism . . . Many of the buildings in this nomination are still under renovation . . . "
- Tsunami 2019
Perhaps ICOMOS has an issue with reconstructions of historic sites in the city or requires a management plan that currently is lacking, or simply questions the OUV of the site broadly (comparative analysis, etc)
. Does anyone think Russia as the host country will not bend the committee toward inscription? On top of this Russia is ON the committee until 2023! The only chance this doesn't get inscribed is if ICOMOS says "Not Inscribe" and if there are at least some new Committee members who would back the Advisory body if Russia sought to challenge the poor evaluation.
Countries who generally rail against UNESCO for politisization and so-called "horse-trading" are often culpable to some degree as well. Recent examples include, Australia in regards to the Great Barrier Reef and the United States in relation to overturning the Advisory recommendation of the "Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point" (2014) from a Deferral to an Inscription. Italy is notorious in overturning poor evaluations and has been rewarded as recently as 2019 after expressing their outrage (in a growingly egregious trend of "giving the state party the floor")
during the Committee discussion.The Prosecco Hills
OVERRULED from Not Inscribe (may I also suggest users to Els review if you have not already read it)
Let's look at the overturned decisions by the Committee in this unique combined session (online). Granted, some of the very nature of the current session may have been a factor that favored inscription. Yet, the trend of overuling the Advisory Bodies toward inscription is not entirely new at this point.Recommended for Referral (9)
- Settlement and Artificial Mummification of the Chinchorro Culture in the Arica and Parinacota Region (Chile)
- Nice, capital of Riviera tourism (France)
- Ivindo National Park (Gabon)
- Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt (Germany)- Deer Stone Monuments and Related Sites, the Heart of Bronze Age Culture (Mongolia)
- Dutch Water Defence Lines [Extension] (Netherlands)
- Petroglyphs of Lake Onega and the White Sea (Russia)
- Cultural Rock Arts in Ḥimā Najrān (Saudi Arabia)
- Arslantepe Mound (Turkey)Recommended for Deferral (7)
- Sudanese style mosques in northern Côte d'Ivoire (Côte d'Ivoire)
- The Glorious Kakatiya Temples and Gateways (India)
- Trans-Iranian Railway (Iran)
- The Porticoes of Bologna (Italy)
- Getbol, Korean Tidal Flat (Republic of Korea)
- Paseo del Prado and Buen Retiro, a landscape of Arts and Sciences (Spain)
- Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex (Thailand)
All 16 state parties except Mongolia had their Referrals or Deferrals overturned in favor of inscription.
Reasons for divergence between Advisory Body Evaluations and UNESCO Committee decisions
1. Make-up of the UNESCO Committee (less countries willing to back the Advisory Bodies and to uphold the Operational Guidelines). This naturally shifts every two years, sometimes for the better or worse. Moreover, short-term gains (inscriptions) often win over prevention of long-term institutional harm (less value/relevance in UNESCO brand).
2. Cost and time investment in nomination process makes countries less willing to accept evaluations when convincing committee members is on the table. Second and third attempts over a decade or more? No thank you.
3. ICOMOS can be interpreted and seen as "Western-centered" and/or overly harsh toward modern development near cultural sites (Dresden, Liverpool)
, but also developing countries in Africa or heavily-populated nations like India.
4. Not trying to overstate the United States or UK significance in international organizations, but an absent U.S. (and largely UK as well) means less resistance to politicization within the organization and world heritage committee.
5. Its easier to overturn ICOMOS decisions compared to IUCN, because culture is more interpretive, less scientific, and nationalism to some degree is inevitable. There have been far more cultural nominations (despite efforts to combat this imbalance) than natural nominations, this imbalance has actually grown.