RESOLUTION SPB/3: Access to information in the context of the World Heritage Convention

We, the participants of the NGO Forum on World Heritage held in St. Petersburg, Russia, from 22-24 June 2012,

Noting the theme of the World Heritage Convention’s 40th Anniversary, “World Heritage and Sustainable Development: the Role of Local Communities”;

Also noting World Heritage Committee Decision 35 COM 12B (2011), in which the Committee decided to live-stream its meetings over the web and to make working documents public, with a view to improving transparency of documents and statutory meetings;

Further noting the Outcome Document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20 (20-22 June 2012), The Future We Want, in which Governments renewed their commitment to sustainable development; underscored that broad public participation and access to information are essential to the promotion of sustainable development, and that sustainable development requires the meaningful involvement and active participation of all Major Groups; and agreed to work more closely with the major groups and other stakeholders and encourage their active participation, as appropriate, in processes that contribute to decision-making, planning and implementation of policies and programs for sustainable development at all levels;

Deeply concerned that there is no requirement for nomination files, management plans and monitoring mission reports to be made publicly available before the World Heritage Committee takes a decision;

Urge the World Heritage Committee and UNESCO to remedy the existing lack of transparency in the implementation of the World Heritage Convention and ensure, inter alia, that nomination files, management plans and monitoring mission reports are made publicly available as soon as they are received by UNESCO, so that affected Indigenous peoples, local communities and other rights- and stakeholders have sufficient time to review the documents and provide input and comments in advance of any decision being taken by the World Heritage Committee;

Recommend that the World Heritage Committee include the following paragraph in Decision 36 COM 12B:

Transparency of documents

X. Requests the World Heritage Centre to make all nomination files, management plans and monitoring mission reports public as soon as they are received, including any existing nomination files, management plans and monitoring mission reports that have not been made public as of yet.

St. Petersburg, 24 June 2012

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