On the 50th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention, ICCROM looks back with pride on the important role it plays as an Advisory Body, helping shape the basic principles and practices in managing and conserving places of Outstanding Universal Value. 

Our role as an Advisory Body 

ICCROM, along with ICOMOS and IUCN, are named in the text of the World Heritage Convention, where we are tasked with attending meetings of the World Heritage Committee in an advisory capacity (Article 8.3), implementing the programmes of the Committee (Article 13.7), and cooperating with the Secretariat in the preparation of the Committee's documentation and the agenda of its meetings and the implementation of its decisions (Article 14.2). 

In this capacity, we support the implementation of the Convention in several ways: 

  • providing advice on the implementation of the Convention; 
  • assisting with the development and implementation of the Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List; the World Heritage Capacity Building Strategy; Periodic Reporting; and strengthening the effective use of the World Heritage Fund; 
  • capacity building for heritage; 
  • monitoring the state of conservation of World Heritage cultural properties; 
  • reviewing requests for international assistance submitted by States Parties; and 
  • providing input and support for capacity-building activities. 

In the past 50 years, we have conducted hundreds of missions, including representation, technical-scientific advice, lecturing, coordinating courses, and organizing and attending seminars and conferences in addition to our attendance at World Heritage Committee meetings.  

Together with the other Advisory Bodies and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, ICCROM has played an active role in leading groundbreaking discussions on philosophies, strategies and methodologies for protecting cultural heritage. This paved the way for policies and guidelines that look at heritage as an integrated whole that includes social, economic, environmental and spiritual dimensions while shifting the focus of best practice away from Western notions in favour of inclusive viewpoints. 

Building capacity for World Heritage management 

ICCROM has supported the Convention with many capacity-building activities. Our course topics range from risk preparedness to World Heritage nominations and management plans. We have also developed capacity-building programmes over the years, such as the AFRICA 2009 programme that – in partnership with the World Heritage Centre, CRATerre-ENSAG, EPA and CHDA – helped to enhance the capacity of a generation of African heritage professionals. 

Today, our main programme fulfilling this work is World Heritage Leadership (WHL) – a partnership between ICCROM, IUCN and the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and the Environment, in collaboration with the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS. As a capacity-building programme, WHL aims to improve conservation and management practices for culture and nature through the work of the World Heritage Convention as an integral component of the contribution made to sustainable development by World Heritage sites. 

A large part of our contribution is in providing freely available resources, all of which can be downloaded from our website. Throughout the years, we have assembled a collection of World Heritage-related publications we’ve developed with partners, which include:  

2020 Conversaciones... con Herb Stovel | Number 8 (English; French; Spanish) 
2013 Managing Cultural World Heritage (English; Italian) 
1998 Management Guidelines for World Cultural Heritage sites (Arabic; English; French; Spanish) 

We’re looking forward to continuing this work in #TheNext50.