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The World Heritage Fund  
Cristiana Carletti
ISSN 1127-4883     BTA - Telematic Bulletin of Art, July 11th 2000, n. 178 (April 18th 2000)

In the Convention for the Protection of the World Heritage, one of the main arguments to be considered immediately has been the financial one: how to guarantee a strong action in order to help the activities carried out by the bodies set up in the Convention itself ?

For this purpose, the World Heritage Convention has established a World Heritage Fund (art. 15), composed of compulsory contributions (at no more than 1% of the contribution from States parties to the budget of UNESCO) and voluntary contributions (from signatory States, donations from institutions or private individuals, or earnings from national or international promotional activities), and which provides for the protection of natural and cultural goods included in the World Heritage List, by different procedures:

1. Preparatory assistance

This kind of assistance is available to States Parties for the purpose of:

    a. preparing tentative lists of cultural and/or natural properties suitable for inclusion in the World Heritage List,

    b. organizing meetings for the harmonization of tentative lists within the same geo- cultural area,

    c. preparing nominations of cultural and natural properties to the World Heritage List,

    d. preparing requests for technical co-operation, including requests relating to the organization of training courses. Every request for preparatory assistance, which should be forwarded to the Secretariat, has a budgetary ceiling fixed at $15,000.

2. Emergency assistance

States Parties may request emergency assistance for work in connection with cultural and natural properties included or suitable for inclusion in the World Heritage List and which have suffered severe damage due to sudden, unexpected phenomena (such as sudden land subsidence, serious fires or explosions, flooding) or are in imminent danger. Emergency assistance does not concern cases of damage or deterioration that has been caused by gradual processes (such as decay, pollution, erosion).

Such assistance may be made available for the following purposes:

    a. to prepare urgent nominations of properties in emergency conditions;

    b. to draw up an emergency plan to safeguard properties inscribed on or nominated to the World Heritage List;

    c. to undertake emergency measures for the safeguarding of a property inscribed on or nominated to the World Heritage. Every request for preparatory assistance, which should be forwarded to the Secretariat, has a budgetary ceiling fixed at $50,000 by the World Heritage Centre authorization, or at $ 75.000, by the World Heritage Bureau authorization.

3. Training

States Parties may request support for the training of specialised staffs in the field of identification, protection, conservation, presentation and rehabilitation of the cultural and natural heritage, at the local or regional levels. The training of individual persons will be essentially limited to short term refresher and exchanges programmes. Requests should contain the following information: (a) details on the training course concerned (level of instruction, teaching staff, number of students and country of origin, date, place and duration, etc.); (b) type of assistance requested (financial contribution to costs of training, provision of specialised teaching staff, provision of equipment, books and educational materials); (c) approximate cost of support requested, including as appropriate tuition fees, daily subsistence allowance, allocation for purchase of educational material, etc; (d) other contributions: national financing, received or anticipated multilateral or bilateral contributions; (e) for recurring training courses, an in-depth report of the results obtained in each previous session shall be submitted by the recipient government or organization. Every request for preparatory assistance, which should be forwarded to the Secretariat, has a budgetary ceiling fixed at $20,000.

4. Technical co-operation and assistance for promotional activities.

States Parties can request this kind of co-operation for safeguarding projects for properties included in the World Heritage List. In order to make best use of the available resources, and because of the increasing number of cultural sites to be assisted, the Committee has decided not to accept requests which may be submitted for equipment for archaeological site museums whose function is the preservation of movables.

Finally, the Fund is usually spent in:

    - expert studies to determine and fight the causes of deterioration of goods and sites, and to plan conservation measures,

    - training of local specialists in conservation or renovation techniques,

    - supplying equipment for the protection of a natural park or to restore a monument.

Type of Assistance Code Amount approved for 1997 (in US $)
Preparatory Assistance PA 300,000
Training T 745,000
Technical Co-operation TC 900,000
Emergency Assistance EA 500,000 *
* This figure represents the total amount available in the Emergency Reserve Fund.
This summary list is current as of 4 March 1997.



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