The 1972 World Heritage Convention: A Commentary

Overview

The World Heritage Convention (WHC) is the most comprehensive and widely ratified among UNESCO treaties on the protection of cultural and natural heritage. The Convention establishes a system of identification, presentation, and registration in an international list of cultural properties and natural sites of outstanding universal value. Throughout the years the WHC has progressively attained almost universal recognition by the international community, and even the International Criminal Tribunal for the former ...

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Overview

The World Heritage Convention (WHC) is the most comprehensive and widely ratified among UNESCO treaties on the protection of cultural and natural heritage. The Convention establishes a system of identification, presentation, and registration in an international list of cultural properties and natural sites of outstanding universal value. Throughout the years the WHC has progressively attained almost universal recognition by the international community, and even the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has recently considered sites inscribed in the World Heritage List as "values especially protected by the international community." The WHC has also been used as a model for other legal instruments dealing with cultural heritage, like the recently adopted (2003) Convention on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

During its more than 30 years of life, the Convention has undergone extensive interpretation and evolution in its scope of application. Operational Guidelines, which are the implementing rules governing the operation of the Convention, have been extensively revised. New institutions such as the World Heritage Centre, have been established. New links, with the World Bank and the United Nations, have developed to take into account the economic and political dimension of world heritage conservation and management. However, many legal issues remain to be clarified. For example, what is the meaning of "outstanding universal value" in the context of cultural and natural heritage? How far can we construe "universal value" in terms of representivity between the concept of "World Heritage" and the sovereignty of the territorial state? Should World Heritage reflect a reasonable balance between cultural properties and natural sites? Is consent of the territorial state required for the inscription of a World Heritage property in the List of World Heritage in Danger? What is the role of the World Heritage Centre in the management of the WHC?

No comprehensive work has been produced so far to deal with these and many other issues that have arisen in the interpretation and application of the WHC. This commentary fills the gap by providing article by article analysis in the light of the practice of the World Heritage Committee, other relevant treaty bodies, as well as of State parties, and will be of use to academics, lawyers, diplomats and officials involved in the management and conservation of cultural and natural heritage of international significance.

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Meet the Author

Juris Dr Florence, LLM Harvard. Professor of Law, European University Institute and the University of Sienna. Visiting Professor at Oxford University, Cornell, and Texas Law School. Member of the Italian Delegation to UNESCO. Chairman of the World Heritage Committee 1997-1998.

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Table of Contents

Table of Cases

Table of Legislation

Pt. I Introduction

The 1972 World Heritage Convention: An Introduction F. Francioni Francioni, F.

Pt. II Commentary Preamble F. Francioni Francioni, F.

Article 1 Definition of Cultural Heritage A. Yusuf Yusuf, A.

Article 1 Cultural Landscape K. Last Last, K.

Article 2 Definition of Natural Heritage C. Redgwell Redgwell, C.

Article 3 Identification and Delineation of World Heritage B. Boer Boer, B.

Articles 4-7 National and International Protection of the Cultural and Natural Heritage G. Carducci Carducci, G.

Articles 8-11 World Heritage Committee and World Heritage List T. Scovazzi Scovazzi, T.

Article 11 List of World Heritage in Danger L. Condorelli Condorelli, L.

Article 12 Protection of Properties not Inscribed on the World Heritage List F. Lenzerini Lenzerini, F.

Article 13 World Heritage Committee and International Assistance A. F. Vrdoljak Vrdoljak, A. F.

Article 14 The Secretariat and Support of the World Heritage Committee A. F. Vrdoljak Vrdoljak, A. F.

Articles 15-16 World Heritage Fund F. Lenzerini Lenzerini, F.

Articles 17-18 Activities to Supprt of the World Heritage Fund L. Patchett Patchett, L.

Articles 19-20 International Assistance A. Lemaistre Lemaistre, A. F. Lenzerini Lenzerini, F.

Article 27-28 Educational Programmes V. Vujicic-Lugassy Vujicic-Lugassy, V. M. Richon Richon, M.

Articles 29 Reports B. Boer Boer, B.

Articles 30-33/35-38 Final Clauses F. Lenzerini Lenzerini, F.

Article 34 The Federal Clause B. Boer Boer, B.

Pt. III Relation of the World Heritage Convention with Other Relevant International Treaties

The 1972 World Heritage Convention in the Framework of Other UNESCOConventions on Cultural Heritage G. Carducci Carducci, G.

The World Heritage Convention and Other Conventions Relating to the Protection of the Natural Heritage C. Redgwell Redgwell, C.

Pt. IV Conclusions

The Future of the World Heritage Convention: Problems and Prospects F. Francioni Francioni, F. F. Lenzerini Lenzerini, F.

Appendix I Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage

App. II Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention

App. III States Parties to the World Heritage Convention

Index

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