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Directorate for Cultural Heritage

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Norway in the World Heritage Committee

The World Heritage Committee is responsible for The World Heritage List.

The World Heritage Site Khajeh Rabi Mausoleum in Mashhad in the province of Khorasan Razai in Iran, was built in the 1500 century. Photo: Alireza Khorsandi (CC BY-SA 4.0), via Wikimedia commons

The World Heritage Committee

The World Heritage Committee comprises 21 state parties/national representatives and is responsible for:

  • implementing the World Heritage Convention
  • determining how the World Heritage Fund should be spent
  • granting financial support at the request of the state parties 
  • making the final decision on new inscriptions and deleting existing inscriptions on the World Heritage List
  • examining State of Conservation reports to protect inscribed sites and asking the state parties to take action when a site is not 
  • being properly managed
  • evaluating the status of sites inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Half the members of the World Heritage Committee are up for election every two years. There is a tradition of having one Nordic country on the committee.

The fortress in Portobelo-San Lorenzo on the carrabean coast of Panama, is a World Heritage Site with challenges on conservaton and maintenance. The fortress was bilt during the 1700- and 1800 century. Photo: Ivo Kruusamägi  (CC BY-SA 3.0), via Wikimedia commons

Norway in the World Heritage Committee

On 15 November 2017 Norway was elected to Unesco’s World Heritage Committee for a period of four years.
The Ministry of Climate and Environment, the Directorate for Cultural Heritage and the Norwegian Environment Agency are representing Norway on the committee.

The Norwegian delegations are led by Director General of the Directorate for Cultural Heritage and Policy Director of the Norwegian Environment Agency.

The World Heritage Committee is non-political, but the Ministry of Climate and Environment will clarify any political matters with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as and when needed.

Goals for Norway’s period on the World Heritage Committee

Norway’s work on the World Heritage Committee shall be in line with/co-ordinated with Norway’s involvement in Unesco and Norwegian foreign and international development policy in general by:

  • ensuring that all new inscriptions on the World Heritage List are of Outstanding Universal Value
  • contributing to a more representative World Heritage List both geographically and thematically offering assistance (expertise and funding) to world heritage sites on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • being a good example of how to manage world heritage, nationally and internationally
  • drawing on the experience from the World Heritage Committee when managing world heritage sites in Norway

Membership of the World Heritage Committee also involves:

  • Norway having an opportunity to exercise influence over how the World Heritage List is managed globally
  • Giving Norway influence over decision-making and processes that affect Norway
  • Norway gaining knowledge of threats to world heritage such as war and increasing tourism in world heritage areas
  • Norway helping to implement Unesco’s strategy for sustainable development of world heritage both nationally and internationally

Nomination process for inscribing new sites on the World Heritage List?

Any country sitting on the World Heritage Committee may put forward nominations for the World Heritage List. However, many countries opt not to make their own nominations while serving on the committee.

Norway shall adhere to this line and will therefore not put forward Norwegian nominations for as long as it is represented on the World Heritage Committee.

The Virunga National Park in The Democratic Republic of the Congo, is also a part of the World Heriatge. Photo: Cai Tjeenk Willink (CC BY-SA.3.0), via Wikimedia commons