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UNESCO to Allow More Nominations for World Heritage

The World Heritage Committee adopted a "Suzhou Decision" in Suzhou Wednesday, deciding to examine up to two complete world heritage nominations per state party each year since 2006.

The decision, which is a key revise to the Cairns Decision, also says that at least one of such nominations should concern a natural property.

"The Suzhou Decision represents a significant step forward towards making the World Heritage List more balanced, more preventative and more credible," Zhang Xinsheng, chairman of the 28th session, said at the closing ceremony.

According to the Suzhou Decision, the World Heritage Committee will review up to 45 nominations each year, inclusive of nominations deferred and referred by previous session of the committee, extensions, transboundary nominations and nominations submitted on an emergency basis, instead of 30 new ones set by theCairns Decision

The Cairns Decision was a suite of decisions adopted in 2000 atthe 24th Session of the World Heritage Committee with a purpose to improve the representativity of the World Heritage List and managing the workload of the committee, advisory bodies, and the World Heritage Center.

It established two separate limits on the number of nominations to be examined each year, including one new nomination per state party each year and an annual limit of 30 new nominations it would review annually.

"With the new mechanisms in place, I am convinced that the Global Strategy, namely, Conservation, Capacity Building, Communication and Credibility, will be greatly strengthened," Zhang said.

The Suzhou Decision, consisting 17 separate items, also requests the World Heritage Center to cooperate with State Parties, the advisory bodies and relevant organizations to convene no later than March 2005, a special meeting to make specific proposals to enable all States Parties to submit tentative lists for world heritage by 2007.

The proposals should be able to help state parties improve the quality of nominations so as to reduce the number of less-represented and non-represented state parties by at least 30 percent, the Suzhou Decision says.

Meanwhile, the decision says the proposals should also lead to a decrease of at least 20 percent in number of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger by 2007.
(Xinhua News Agency July 8, 2004)

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