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WH query UNESCO procedures

 
Author Andrew
Partaker
#1 | Posted: 20 Apr 2014 01:42 
Hi all,

I have scoured the UNESCO website trying to get clarification on the following issue but no luck yet.

The WH operational guidelines at clause 63 state that nominations are not considered unless it is on the State Party's Tentative list. Does anyone know if this also applies to minor boundary adjustments to an existing property?

Looking at some countries tentative lists there are minor modifications as well as new nominations.

Any ideas?

Author elsslots
Admin
#2 | Posted: 20 Apr 2014 02:35 | Edited by: elsslots 
Andrew:
Does anyone know if this also applies to minor boundary adjustments to an existing property

No it doesn't.

I don't know what the exact rules are, but last year for example Luang Prabang had a minor boundary change. This did not go via a tentative list nomination, but was the result of a state of conservation visit in 2012, which concluded that a buffer zone had to be created.

Creation of a buffer zone seems to be a common boundary adjustment. All of them look to be related to management issues:
http://www.worldheritagesite.org/tag.php?id=660

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#3 | Posted: 20 Apr 2014 02:40 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Andrew:
minor boundary adjustments to an existing property?


See page 7 of this ICOMOS presentation
http://whc.unesco.org/document/120015

If it is "minor" then as long as
a It is requested by Feb 1 of year of WHC
b. ICOMOS/IUCN agree that it is indeed "minor"
Then ok - no need for a T List entry or for a proper "evaluation"

Else - it must be dealt with as per a new nomination and presumably therefore should be on the T List (though this paper doesn't specifically mention that requirement).

It occurs to me that another issue not really covered concerns signiificant modifications (Increases and decreases) to Buffer Zones. As "Buffer Zones" are not strictly part of the Inscirbed site what is their "status"?
I guess that a significant reduction could be regarded as impacting the OUV and could result on a site being placed "in danger" or even removed. But what about a significant increase in the Buffer Zone? I presume that the States Party merely has to register it?

Author Andrew
Partaker
#4 | Posted: 20 Apr 2014 05:19 
Ok, so if it does't need to be on the T list, does a minor boundary modification need to be assessed by IUCN/ICOMOS as per Annexe 6 of the guidelines including stakeholder engagement/consultation?

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#5 | Posted: 21 Apr 2014 04:19 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Solivagant:
Modifications... to buffer zones....I guess that a significant reduction could be regarded as impacting the OUV and could result on a site being placed "in danger" or even removed. But what about a significant increase in the Buffer Zone? I presume that the States Party merely has to register it?

Further to this I note Para 107 of the OG
"Although buffer zones are not part of the nominated property, any modifications to or creation of buffer zones subsequent to inscription of a property on the World Heritage List should be approved by the World Heritage Committee using the procedure for a minor boundary modification (see paragraph 164 and Annex 11). The creation of buffer zones subsequent to inscription is normally considered to be a minor boundary modification"
So it doesn't cover reductions to buffer zones after inscription and even the procedures for increases contain the caveat "normally"

Andrew:
does a minor boundary modification need to be assessed by IUCN/ICOMOS as per Annexe 6 of the guidelines including stakeholder engagement/consultation?

From the Guidelines (paras 163-4) I would have thought that it was clear that "Minor boundary modifications" do not need to be assessed IN ANY WAY by IUCN/ICOMOS IF they agree that the change is indeed "minor". i,e "one which has not a significant impact on the extent of the property nor affects its Outstanding Universal Value" -and the procedures are designed to ensure that IUCN/ICOMOS have the chance to assess whether a proposed modification is indeed minor before it goes through. How they might assess whether a proposed change doesn't have a "siginificant" impact is of course not specified precisely but one could imagine that they would have to be satisfied that it didn't alter any of the factors on which the inscription had originally been gained - OUV, Integrity, Authenticity etc.

I can't really imagine why a States Party would want to add to an inscribed area in a way which might call into question any of those aspects but I guess one might try to slip in something of questionable value e.g in some countries where there could be some political advantage from getting some street or building included within a city inscription for instance. Certainly not all "minor" boundary changes are totally insignificant. I have had a look at a few historical boundary changes and note that Australia got the potential Uranium mining area of Koongara added as a "minor" boundary change to Kakadu despite the significance of this change which wasn't simply a few minor sq kms added "here or there"! Such an extension only became possible becuase of legal changes which Australia had implemented - yet ICOMOS/UNESCO took these at face value without insisting on a formal evaluation. No doubt they were very pleased to do so and saw no reason to make the Australian government jump through any further hoops!!. See
http://intercontinentalcry.org/unesco-includes-koongarra-uranium-deposit-in-kakadu-na tional-park/

Author Andrew
Partaker
#6 | Posted: 22 Apr 2014 10:43 
Thanks for the reply.

In Australia, the last "minor" boundary modification to increase the TWWHA property size was 173,000ha or 12% in area of the existing WHA. According to IUCN prior decisions, 10% was the maximum upper limit of "minor" extensions yet this was allowed through without proper scrutiny (what next 15%?). The boundary modification included many areas that had previously been deemed by a 2008 IUCN Reactive Monitoring Mission as not required. The political insertion portion of your comments certainly ring true.

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