The first working day of the 36th session of the World Heritage Committee

Delegations from the 21 States Parties to the World Heritage Committee today began their work during the first day of the 36th session of the World Heritage Committee, held in the 18th century Tavritcheski Palace where the Interparliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independence States holds its meetings.

Approximately 600 people have been attending the sessions today. They include Committee members representing Algeria, Cambodia, Colombia, Estonia, Ethiopia, France, Germany, India, Iraq, Japan, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Qatar, Russian Federation, Senegal, Serbia, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.

A great many observers are also present, notably from States Parties to the World Heritage Committee, prominent among them are those whose heritage sites are on the agenda of the session. Nongovernmental organizations with a stake in heritage, both natural and cultural, are also following the meeting and can be invited to speak to the Committee on certain topics.

Sites to be discussed will include all those inscribed on the World Heritage List in Danger, and a number of sites on the World Heritage List whose state of conservation will be reviewed.

At the end of the morning session the Chairperson of the current session of the World Heritage Committee, Eleonora Valentinovna Mitrofanova, and the Director-General of UNESCO gave a press conference which was attended by some 70 journalists, almost all of them from the Russian Federation.

Speaking about the work of the Committee, Ms Mitrofanova, who is also Russia's Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, argued in favour of reducing the number of nominations for inscription on the World Heritage List and the number of sites reviewed during the session. “An increase in the number of inscribed sites doesn't increase the process of conservation," she warned, urging greater rigour in preserving sites recognized to be of outstanding universal value.

The Chairperson urged greater transparency in the work of the advisory bodies, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, (IUCN) the International Council on Monuments and Sites and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM).

Ms Bokova for her part emphasized the role of local authorities and communities in the conservation of World Heritage sites and spoke of the need to increase their involvement. This has been the focus of the ongoing celebration of the 40th anniversary of the 1972 World Heritage Convention and will be the subject of the anniversary celebration scheduled to take place in Kyoto (Japan) in November.

Photos from the event in high resolution are available in the Archive


Plenary session 1. Morning session. Eleonora Mitrofanova Plenary session 1. Morning session. Kishore Rao Plenary session 1. Morning session Kishore Rao, Eleonora Mitrofanova
Eleonora Mitrofanova Irina Bokova Kishore Rao Exposition (Africa)