The 36th Session of the World Heritage Committee

Tauride Palace, venue of the World Heritage Committee
The moment when Palestine’s property was inscribed
Fireworks during the welcoming reception (Peterhof Palace)

 The 36th Session of the World Heritage Committee was held from June 24th to July 6th in Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation.Prior to the Committee, the Institute summarized and analyzed documents regarding the state of conservation of World Heritage properties and the Advisory Bodies’ evaluation of nominated properties. Three staff members of the Institute joined the Committee in collecting information.
 Twenty-six properties were inscribed on the World Heritage List during the session. Four properties that were slated to have their inscription deferred were instead inscribed on the list; this number was smaller than that during the previous session. Seven properties that were to be referred back to the state party for additional information were all inscribed on the List. Although there was less of a tendency for the Advisory Bodies’ recommendations to be overturned by the Committee due to changes in Committee Members as a result of elections,that tendency still remained. Three former mining sites were inscribed on the list, and all three were associated with negative aspects of history, like the spread of labor movements among miners and mining accidents. This tendency to focus on the dark side of the history remains evident.
 The World Heritage Convention is said to be UNESCO’s most successful convention since it has been ratified by 190 state parties. The Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem was inscribed on an emergency basis during the session. Of interest is the fact that the “state party” nominating the property was Palestine. In addition, World Heritage property in Mali was destroyed by Muslim fundamentalists, highlighting the global impact of the destruction of World Heritage properties.
 Since Palestine ratified the Convention last year, the United States stopped its financial contribution and Japan became the largest contributor to UNESCO. As of the current session, Japan also became a Committee Member with the right to comment freely during sessions, so Japan should be playing a larger role in future sessions. The Institute hopes to provide information to relevant organizations in Japan and to provide support such as information analysis so that Japan can contribute further to the World Heritage Committee.

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