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08 July 2015 – The Philippines and the other 190 States Parties to the 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage met in Bonn, Germany for the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee  (39COM) from June 28 to July 08.

Led by Philippine Ambassador and Permanent Delegate Ma. Theresa P. Lazaro, the Philippines actively participated in the assessment of state of conservation reports of 141 sites, and examined 36 properties proposed to be inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

The Philippines played a constructive role in the deliberation of the Committee’s two Working Groups on the Budget and the revision of the Operational Guidelines. First Secretary Hendrik Garcia chaired the Drafting Group on Annex 6 of the Operational Guidelines. The Philippines submitted a number of amendments and decisions, including to the Operational Guidelines of the Convention and the Rules of Procedure of the Committee.

During the session, Ambassador Lazaro noted with concern that only a small percentage of nomination dossiers for the 40th session in 2016 are from underrepresented or non-represented States Parties. She proposed enhanced delivery of capacity-building, especially to States Parties which do not have sites inscribed on the World Heritage List.

At the end of the session, the Philippine was elected as Vice-Chair of the Bureau for the 40th session which will be held in Istanbul, Turkey in July 2016.

The 21-member World Heritage Committee is one of the most prestigious bodies associated with UNESCO whose main responsibility is to implement the World Heritage Convention.  The Committee decides on whether a property is inscribed in or deleted from the World Heritage List. It examines reports on the state of conservation of inscribed properties and asks States Parties to take action when properties are not being properly managed.  It also determines the use of the World Heritage Fund and allocates financial assistance upon requests made by States Parties.

The Philippines is a Committee member until 2017.