Unesco's World Heritage Committee meets in Istanbul from 10 to 20 July

Press release 2016-07-11 at 10:02

Press release from the Ministry of Education and Culture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of the Environment

Unesco's World Heritage Committee will hold its 40th session in Istanbul, Turkey, on 10 –20 July. Finland is a member of the Committee in 2014–2017. The Committee will nominate new cultural and natural properties and mixed properties with both cultural and natural values on the World Heritage List. The Committee will also review the protection status of world heritage properties and discuss the strengthening of the financing of world heritage activities. The current number of world heritage properties is 1031.

The World Heritage Committee decides on the nomination of new sites to the World Heritage List annually. The World Heritage Convention has 192 States Parties of which 21 form the World Heritage Committee. Finland is a member of the Committee in 2014–2017.

The Committee will examine proposals related to 9 natural heritage, 16 cultural heritage and 4 mixed natural and cultural heritage properties. Sites on the tentative list include the Gorham’s Cave Complex in Gibraltar, known for evidence of Neanderthal occupation, which is proposed by the UK, and the Revillagigedo Archipelago, put forward by Mexico. Micronesia will get its first site in the World Heritage List if the Ceremonial Centres of the Early Micronesian States, that is, Nan Madol and Lelu, will be approved. Finland does not propose its own sites to the World Heritage List during its term in the Committee.

An important part of the Committee's work is to follow the state of properties inscribed in the World Heritage List and, if needed, to transfer properties to the List of World Heritage in Danger. Examples of threats are natural disasters or wars. It is possible to apply for assistance for the maintenance and protection of endangered properties from the World Heritage Fund. Finland's National World Heritage Strategy 2015–2025 also emphasises effective protection and conservation of properties, in which Finland has solid expertise. 

The Committee will decide on futher steps in the revision of the new operational guidelines. These guidelines help the Committee to be more effective and consistent in its decisions and activities. The World Heritage Fund's two-year budget will also be adopted. Additionally, the Committee will address the sufficiency of the Fund's resources and the resources of the Secretariat of the World Heritage Centre.

Other topical themes on the agenda will be the connection between efforts to reach the goals related to the protection of world heritage and sustainable development goals. The difficulty of protecting world heritage sites in different conflict situations will also be discussed.

The Finnish delegation will be led by Ambassador Okko-Pekka Salmimies from the Permanent Delegation of Finland to Unesco in Paris. World Heritage Coordinator Susanna Lindeman from Metsähallitus and Senior Adviser Stefan Wessman from the National Board of Antiquities will be the main specialists.

Inquiries:

Okko-Pekka Salmimies, tel. +33 6 2558 7140, surname.lastname@formin.fi

Susanna Lindeman, tel. +358 40 556 2652,  surname.lastname@metsa.fi (natural heritage sites)

Stefan Wessman, tel. +358 295 33 6256, surname.lastname@museovirasto.fi (cultural sites)