Accueil > UNESCO : The World Heritage Convention and it’s World Heritage Committee

KETU 2125 - The World Heritage Convention and it's Word Heritage Committe : challenges and solutions

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Autumn 2018-2019

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English


A good command of oral and written English is necessary

Course Description

The World Heritage Convention was adopted in 1972 by the General Conference of UNESCO. It is a globally recognized instrument for conservation of natural and cultural heritage and for international cooperation. Several decades after its adoption, the Convention became a victim of its own success. The World Heritage Label has become a major source of income for States Parties to the Convention. This had a major impact on the implementation of the Convention, on its decision-making processes and on its objectives. The World Heritage Convention is thus facing considerable challenges that the students will identify through case studies of specific sites, namely the Old Bridge Area of the Old City of Mostar, Bolghar, the Cologne Cathedral and Venice. The students are expected to simulate the decision making process of the Committee, to identify the challenges and propose solutions. This exercise will allow them to fully grasp the realities of the functioning of an international organization and of its inter-governmental bodies. The aim of the course is also to attempt to propose solutions to some of the challenges that are threatening the credibility of the World Heritage Convention by introducing amendments or improvements to its basic texts


LACOEUILHE, Vera (Lecturer and Diplomat)

Pedagogical format

The format will include lectures, team work and individual work. They will prepare written arguments to determine their positions, negotiate, deliver speeches, identify challenges and propose possible solution by submitting written amendments and improvements to the Basic Texts of the World Heritage Convention (Operational Guidelines of the WHC, Rules of Procedures of the World Heritage Committee and of the General Assembly of States Parties. Guest speakers will be invited to share their experience and expertise

Course validation

40% : Written assignments 20%, oral performance and speech delivery (20%). Group performance 50%: Written assignments (30%), negotiation skills (20%). Participation10%


A significant amount of research will be necessary to understand the World Heritage Convention, the functioning of the World Heritage Committee and the decision making process. The students will simulate the whole decision-making process for an inscription and the examination of a state of conservation. They will have to identify challenges and propose solutions. The work includes oral presentation and written assignments

Required reading

  • UNESCO, Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, Paris, World Heritage Centre (1972) and supporting documents.
  • UNESCO, Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention. Paris, World Heritage Centre.
  • UNESCO, Rules of Procedures of the World Heritage General Assembly (2014), and of the World Heritage Committee, Paris, World Heritage Centre (2015).
  • UNESCO, Relevant Decisions and Summary Records of the World Heritage General Assembly and World Heritage Committee, Paris, World Heritage Centre.
  • Pressouyre Léon, La Convention du Patrimoine mondial, vingt ans après, Paris, UNESCO (1993).

Additional required reading

  • World Heritage Oral Archives, Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage, Montreal University.
  • Conference Report, World Heritage and Contemporary Architecture : managing the historic urban landscape, Vienna (2005).
  • Gravari-Barbas, Maria et Sebastien Jacquot, Patrimoine mondial : au défi du tourisme durable, Québec, Presse de l'Université du Québec (2008).
  • ICOMOS, Document Nara sur l'authenticité, ICOMOS, ICCROM, UNESCO (1994).
  • Cameron Christina and Mechtild Rossler, Many Voices, One Vision : Early Years of the World Heritage Convention, Routledge, New York (2016).