European World Heritage Sites need to prepare for the upcoming UNESCO World Heritage Convention Periodic Reporting.
Periodic Reporting is a a 6-year cycle of self-reporting on state of conservation and application of the World Heritage Convention at a State Party (UK Government) and World Heritage Site level. The report is an opportunity for reflection and evaluation.
Periodic Reporting has four main purposes (Operational Guidelines para 201):
• To provide an assessment of the application of the World Heritage Convention by the State Party
• To provide an assessment as to whether the Outstanding Universal Value of the properties/Sites inscribed on the World Heritage List is being maintained over time
• To provide up-dated information about the World Heritage properties/Sites to record the changing circumstances and state of conservation of the properties
• To provide a mechanism for regional co-operation and exchange of information and experiences between States Parties concerning the implementation of the Convention and World Heritage conservation
The report consists of a questionnaire in two sections accessed via online tool:
Section I: Responsibility of State Party; this covers: legislative and administrative provisions which the State Party has adopted and other actions which it has taken for the application of the Convention, together with details of the experience acquired in this field. This particularly concerns the general obligations defined in specific articles of the Convention
Section II: Responsibility of Property managers/coordinators for individual Sites on the List; this covers: State of Conservation of specific World Heritage Sites located on the territory of the State Party concerned. A separate version of this Section is completed for each World Heritage property.
Periodic Reporting starts in September 2022 this year and will need to be completed and submitted by the State Party by 31 July 2023.
The UK’s Periodic Reporting is then examined by World Heritage Committee, and discussed and decided upon at their 2024 meeting. They will recommend follow ups and actions to be implemented.
Changes for the 3rd Cycle since the last round of Periodic Reporting:
- Sustainable development
- Synergies with other Conventions
- Monitoring Indicators:
- State of Conservation of World Heritage properties – Indicators to assess temporal patterns in the status and trends of the OUV and factors affecting the property; integrity and authenticity of the site
- Management – Indicators to measure the effectiveness of site management, the adequacy of financial and human resources and budget
- Governance – Indicators to measure the adequacy of the legal framework for heritage protection, the nature and level of involvement of key stakeholders (transparency of processes), action plan(s) to promote heritage, legislation for heritage protection
- Synergies – Indicators to measure the existence of synergies with other cultural and biodiversity related conventions and normative instruments
- Sustainable Development – Indicators to measure whether the application of the Convention is contributing to environmental sustainability, inclusive social development, and inclusive economic development, as well as the fostering of peace and security
- Capacity Development – Indicators to measure the existence, effectiveness of and participation in capacity building strategies and programmes
4. Analytical Framework (recommendations of Expert Group for 3rd Cycle):
- Implementation of standardised approach for data analysis
- Methodology essentially unchanged from 2nd Cycle
- Changes to content of questionnaire
- Proposed introduction of Monitoring Indicators
5. Periodic Reporting platform technical improvements
6. State Party led support and training materials:
- UNESCO/WHC training materials on Periodic Reporting website
- First 2 general workshops run by DCMS & Historic England – general overview of process and arrangements
- Subsequent workshops/discussion sessions run by DCMS, Historic England and JNCC with support from WHUK and ICOMOS-UK, focusing on different aspects and themes through the questionnaire, or bringing sites with similar issues together
- Individual conversations on site by site basis as needed
- Technical support as needed from World Heritage Centre
7. Emphasis on reporting positive achievements
8. More emphasis on attributes of OUV as important element of World Heritage system
9. Factors affecting condition assessment and context of properties
10. More information gathered on actual and predicted trends (attributes and factors)
11. More integration with State of Conservation reporting
12. Changes to questionnaire:
- New format adopted by World Heritage Committee at 41st session (Poland 2017)
- Changes and improvements, both major and minor, related to broad changes to process overall; Sustainable development; Synergies with other Conventions; Monitoring Indicators and Analytical Framework
- Revised to include more quantifiable data
- Introduction of analysis of factors affecting properties
- Retention of key questions from 2nd Cycle to allow collection of trend data over time
Check the WHUK Forum “Periodic Reporting” for regularly updated resources.