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Non-State Actors and the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention in Asia: Achievements, Problems, and Prospects

  • Alessandro CHECHI (a1)

The philosophy underlying the UNESCO World Heritage Convention of 1972 [WHC] consists in promoting a system of international co-operation in the context of which the States Parties commit to preserving the cultural treasures of “outstanding universal value” located within their territories. However, it is a fact that today many properties inscribed on the List set under the WHC are endangered. This paper will focus on the role played by “non-state actors” in the enforcement of the WHC. It will thus dwell upon the relationships between public and private interests, on the one hand, and between international and domestic legal orders, on the other. Its purpose is to map out and discuss the most salient problems about the involvement of non-state actors—particularly non-governmental organizations [NGOs] and private companies—in the monitoring and implementation of the WHC.

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Senior Researcher (Art-Law Centre, Faculty of Law, University of Geneva, Switzerland). PhD (European University Institute, Italy); LLM (University College London, UK); JD (University of Siena, Italy). An earlier version of this paper was presented at the conference “Cultural Heritage Law and the Built Environment”, National University of Singapore, 17 March 2016. Thanks are due to the conference organizers and to the anonymous reviewers. The usual disclaimer applies.

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1. Irina BOKOVA, “Culture in the Cross Hairs” The New York Times, 2 December 2012, online: The New York Times <>.

2. ALSTON, Philip, “The ‘Not-a-Cat’ Syndrome: Can the International Human Rights Regime Accommodate Non-State Actors?” in Philip ALSTON, ed., Non-State Actors and Human Rights (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 3 at 15.

3. Keane describes the entities that concentrate on the development of heritage conservation projects as “a dynamic non-governmental system of interconnected … actors who organise themselves across borders, with the deliberate aim of drawing the world together in new ways”. KEANE, John, Global Civil Society? (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003) at 8.

4. Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, 16 November 1972, 1037 U.N.T.S. 151 (entered into force 17 December 1975) [WHC].

5. As of September 2017, the WHC has been ratified by 193 states.

6. See e.g. GALLA, Amareswar, ed., World Heritage: Benefits Beyond Borders (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

7. WINTER, Tim and DALY, Patrick, “Heritage in Asia: Converging Forces, Conflicting Values” in Patrick DALY and Tim WINTER, eds., Routledge Handbook of Heritage in Asia (Abingdon: Routledge, 2012), 435 at 6–7, 14–15.

8. Although there is an extensive international law scholarship on non-state actors (see e.g. NOORTMANN, Math, REINISCH, August, and RYNGAERT, Cedric, eds., Non-State Actors in International Law (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2015); GAL-OR, Noemi, RYNGAERT, Cedric, and NOORTMANN, Math, eds., Responsibilities of the Non-State Actor in Armed Conflict and the Market Place: Theoretical Considerations and Empirical Findings (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2015); D’ASPREMONT, Jean, NOLLKAEMPER, André, PLAKOKEFALOS, Ilias, and RYNGAERT, Cedric, “Sharing Responsibility Between Non-State Actors and States in International Law: Introduction” (2015) 62 Netherlands International Law Review 49 ; RYNGAERT, Cedric and NOORTMANN, Math, eds., Human Security and International Law: The Challenge of Non-State Actors (Antwerp: Intersentia, 2014); and ROBERTS, Anthea and SIVAKUMARAN, Sandesh, “Lawmaking by Nonstate Actors: Engaging Armed Groups in the Creation of International Humanitarian Law” (2012) 37 Yale Journal of International Law 107), the role of non-state actors in the field of international cultural heritage law has remained underresearched given that, to the knowledge of the present author, only two works have been published: CHECHI, Alessandro, “Non-State Actors and Cultural Heritage: Friends or Foes?” (2015) 19 Anuario de la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid 457 ; and NAFZIGER, James, “The World Heritage Convention and Non-State Actors” in Lyndel V. PROTT et al., eds., Realizing Cultural Heritage Law: Festschrift for Patrick Joseph O’Keefe (Builth Wells, Pentre Moel: Institute of Art and Law, 2013), 73 .

However, the former work focuses on the enforcement of all UNESCO treaties on the protection of tangible cultural heritage from the perspective of non-state actors (hence it does not focus on the WHC), whereas the latter offers a brief case-based review of the (positive and negative) effects that non-state actors’ activities may have on the properties protected under the WHC. The present paper differs from the latter because it: (1) focuses on the Asian continent; (2) examines the goals of two types of non-state actors and their relationship with UNESCO and the WHC; and (3) widens the discussion to investigate the relationship between states and non-state actors, the role of local communities, and the issue of sustainable development.

9. WHC, supra note 4, art. 4. A property having OUV is eligible for inscription on the WHC List if it meets one or more of the criteria set out in the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, WHC.15/01 (8 July 2015) [Operational Guidelines] at para. 77.

10. WHC, supra note 4, art. 1. The WHC also covers natural heritage as defined in art. 2.

11. The Committee is the body responsible for the implementation of the WHC and consists of representatives from twenty-one of the Contracting States, who are elected for terms of up to six years by the UNESCO General Assembly.

12. Established in 1992, the WHC Centre is the secretariat of the Committee.

13. As of September 2017, the WHC List contains 1,073 properties (832 cultural, 206 natural, and 37 mixed properties). 175 cultural properties are from the Asia-Pacific region, which does not correspond to the whole Asian continent given that the Arab States of the Middle East, Russia, and former USSR republics belong to other regions.

14. As of September 2017, the List of World Heritage in Danger contains fifty-four properties.

15. WHC, supra note 4, art. 12. Art. 12 makes it clear that the fact that a property has not been included in either of the two lists “shall in no way be construed to mean that it does not have an outstanding universal value for purposes other than those resulting from inclusion in these lists”. On the practical implications of this Article, see FORREST, Craig, International Law and the Protection of Cultural Heritage (London/New York: Routledge, 2010) at 261–2; and LENZERINI, Federico, “Article 12: Protection of Properties Not Inscribed on the World Heritage List” in Francesco FRANCIONI and Federico LENZERINI, eds., The 1972 World Heritage Convention: A Commentary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), at 201–18.

16. A site is removed from the List only once the site’s OUV has been or will be altogether destroyed. As of September 2017, the WHC Committee has delisted two sites only: the Dresden Elbe Valley in 2009 (Dresden Elbe Valley (Germany) (C 1156), [2009] 33 COM 7A.26), and the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in 2007 (State of conservation of World Heritage properties—Arabian Oryx Sanctuary, [2007] 31 COM 7B.11). On these issues see Gionata P. BUZZINI and Luigi CONDORELLI, “Article 11: List of World Heritage Sites in Danger and Deletion of a Property from the World Heritage List” in Francioni and Lenzerini, eds., ibid., at 175–99.

17. WHC, supra note 4, arts. 8–14.

18. Operational Guidelines, supra note 9.

19. WHC, supra note 4, arts. 4–6.

20. The Committee can decide on the use of the resources of the World Heritage Fund. Intended as a complement to national assistance towards the conservation and management of sites, the Fund contributes to emergency aid, training, management expertise, technical missions, and equipment, provided that the state concerned has complied with its duty of reporting. See WHC, supra note 4, arts. 15–18.

21. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources [IUCN] is the advisory body for natural properties.

22. On this dispute, see CHECHI, Alessandro, “The 2013 Judgment of the ICJ in the Temple of Preah Vihear Case and the Protection of World Heritage Sites in Wartime” (2015) 6 Asian Journal of International Law 126 .

23. Cited in STARR, Fiona, Corporate Responsibility for Cultural Heritage: Conservation, Sustainable Development, and Corporate Reputation (New York: Routledge, 2012) at 20.

24. LOGAN, William , “States, Governance and the Politics of Culture” in Daly and Winter, eds., supra note 7, 113–27 at 120–1.

25. STRASSER, Peter, “Putting Reform into Action: Thirty Years of the World Heritage Convention. How to Reform a Convention Without Changing Its Regulations” (2002) 11 International Journal of Cultural Property 215266 .

26. FRANCIONI, Francesco and LENZERINI, Federico , “The Future of the World Heritage Convention: Problems and Prospects” in Francioni and Lenzerini, eds., supra note 15, 401–10 at 401–2.

27. Recommendation Concerning the Safeguarding and Contemporary Role of Historic Areas, Records of the 19th Session of the General Conference (Vol. 1), UNESCO, Nairobi (1976) at Annex I.

28. The Xi’an Declaration on the Conservation of the Setting of Heritage Structures, Sites and Areas, 21 October 2005, online: ICOMOS <> [ICOMOS Declaration on the Conservation of the Setting of Heritage Structures, Sites and Areas].

29. Vienna Memorandum on “World Heritage and Contemporary Architecture—Managing the Historic Urban Landscape”, UNESCO, WHC-05/15.GA/INF.7 (2005).

30. ICOMOS Declaration on Heritage and Metropolis in Asia and the Pacific, 1 June 2007, online: ICOMOS <> at 5.

31. Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape, Records of the 36th Session of the General Conference (Vol. 1), UNESCO, Paris (2011) at 50.

32. Operational Guidelines, supra note 9, para. 12.

33. ICOMOS, supra note 30, Recommendation No. 5.

34. Constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 16 November 1945, 4 U.N.T.S. 275 (entered into force 4 November 1946) [UNESCO Constitution]. Art. XI(4) states that the “Organization may make suitable arrangements for consultation and co-operation with non-governmental international organizations concerned with matters within its competence, and may invite them to undertake specific tasks. Such co-operation may also include appropriate participation by representatives of such organizations on advisory committees set up by the General Conference.”

35. Policy Framework for Strategic Partnerships: A Comprehensive Partnership Strategy, 6 September 2013, UNESCO Doc. 192 EX/5.INF, online: UNESCO <>.

36. Ibid., at 9. This category comprises all “types of business enterprises, including small- and medium-size firms, national, international and multinational corporations, philanthropic and corporate foundations, financial institutions and private individuals”.

37. Ibid., at 6–7.

38. Ibid., at 26–7.

39. Ibid., at 3–4.

40. Ibid., at 3, 5–6.

41. For the list of NGOs enjoying official partnerships with UNESCO, see UNESCO, “Non-Governmental Organizations” (August 2017), online: <>.

42. Adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO at its 36th session in 2011 (36 C/Res. 108).

43. UNESCO, supra note 35 at 30.

44. Ibid.

45. See Operational Guidelines, supra note 9, paras. 30–1, 34–5, 143–51. WHC, supra note 4, arts. 13(7), 14(2).

46. ICOM, “ICOM International Observatory on Illicit Traffic in Cultural Goods” (October 2017), online: ICOM <>.

47. ICOM, “Code of Ethics” (October 2017), online: ICOM <>.

48. ICOM, “Red Lists Database” (October 2017), online: ICOM <>.

49. Global Heritage Fund, “Global Heritage Fund” (October 2017), online: Global Heritage Fund <>.

50. World Monuments Fund, “World Monuments Fund” (October 2017), online: World Monuments Fund <>.

51. Aga Khan Trust for Culture, “About the Aga Khan Trust for Culture” (October 2017), online: Aga Khan Trust for Culture <>.

52. Turquoise Mountain, “Turquoise Mountain” (October 2017), online: Turquoise Mountain <>.

53. Alliance for the Restoration of Cultural Heritage, “Alliance for the Restoration of Cultural Heritage” (October 2017), online: Alliance for the Restoration of Cultural Heritage <>.

54. UNESCO, “UNESCO, France and the Emirates Launch an International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage”, (20 March 2017), online: UNESCO <>.

55. Winter and daly, supra note 7 at 29–30.

56. See Operational Guidelines, supra note 9, paras. 39–40.

57. EVANS, Harriet and ROWLANDS, Michael, “Reconceptualizing Heritage in China: Museums, Development and the Shifting Dynamics of Power” in Paul BASU and Wayne MODEST, eds., Museums, Heritage and International Development (New York/London: Routledge, 2015), 272294 at 279, 290.

58. “China”, questionnaire, AHRC project World Heritage Sites for the Nation: The Preservation of World Heritage Sites in a National Context (2013–2015), on file with the author.

59. “Threat to Hyderabad Heritage as Govt Scraps Regulation 13” The Times of India (9 December 2015).

60. CHEIKHMOUS, Ali, “Syrian Heritage under Threat” (2013) 1 Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology & Heritage Studies 351366 at 363.

61. Winter and Daly, supra note 7 at 29.

62. See UNESCO, “The World Heritage Convention: Thinking Ahead” (21 January 2015), online: UNESCO <> at 4.

63. BERTACCHINI, Enrico, LIUZZA, Claudia, MESKELL, Lynn, and SACCONE, Donatella, “The Politicization of UNESCO World Heritage Decision Making” (2016) Public Choice 135 .

64. Ibid., at 3–4.

65. Logan, supra note 24 at 116, 120–1, 123.

66. KOZYMKA, Irena, The Diplomacy of Culture: The Role of UNESCO in Sustaining Cultural Diversity (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) at 119.

67. “UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites: A Danger List in Danger”, The Economist (26 August 2010), online: The Economist <>.

68. It appears that the Canadian delegation of observers walked out in a mix of despair and disgust. Logan, supra note 24 at 124.

69. MESKELL, Lynn, “The Rush to Inscribe: Reflections on the 35th Session of the World Heritage Committee, UNESCO Paris, 2011” (2012) 37 Journal of Field Archaeology at 145.

70. ICOMOS recommended that Palestine should resubmit the nomination in accordance with normal procedures as the conditions for the inscription of the site on an emergency basis were not satisfied. Allegedly, one of the ICOMOS experts informed the Palestinian Ambassador to UNESCO, Elias Sanbar, that the report had been modified following political pressure. Elias SANBAR, “L’Eglise de la Nativité au patrimoine mondial: portée et enjeux”, Conférence d’ouverture du cycle « Le patrimoine culturel de l’humanité: un outil pour la paix » (4 March 2014), online: Université de Genève <>.

71. BEVAN, Robert , “World Heritage at 40: Success or Mess?” (2012) The Art Newspaper, No. 240 at 60ff.

72. Since the early nineteenth century, governments have used archaeologists, cultural resource managers, and conservators to select, interpret, and memorialize objects, places, histories, and myths not only to be preserved and handed on to future generations, but also to support or legitimize claims to self-determination and independence, and to create a cohesive national identity. HARRISON, Rodney, Heritage: Critical Approaches (London/New York: Routledge, 2013) at 141–3; and BLAKE, Janet, Exploring Cultural Rights and Cultural Diversity (Pentre Moel: Institute of Art and Law, 2014) at 82–7.

73. MILLAR, Sue, “Stakeholders and Community Participation” in Anna LEASK and Alan FYALL, eds., Managing World Heritage Sites (Amsterdam: Butterworth, 2006), 3754 at 38.

74. Operational Guidelines, supra note 9, paras. 12, 39-40, 64, 119, 123; annex 3, para. 12; and annex 8.

75. Yixiao, XIANG and WALL, Geoffrey, “Implications of World Heritage Designation for Local Residents: A Case Study from Taishan and Taiqian, China” in Laurent BOURDEAU and Maria GRAVARI-BARBAS, eds., World Heritage, Tourism and Identity: Inscription and Co-production (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015), 5168 at 54.

76. SALAZAR, Noel B., “The Local-to-Global Dynamics of World Heritage Interpretation”, in Bourdeau and Gravari-Barbas, ibid., 121130 at 122–3.

77. See BHATNAGAR, Bhuvan and WILLIAMS, Aubrey C. , eds., “Participatory Development and the World Bank: Potential Directions for Change” (1992) World Bank Discussion Paper No. 183 at 2.

78. YUNG, Esther and CHAN, Edwin H.W., “Problem Issues of Public Participation in Built-Heritage Conservation: Two Controversial Cases in Hong Kong” (2011) 35 Habitat International 457466 at 458.

79. Francioni and Lenzerini, supra note 26 at 402.

80. See “Japan”, questionnaire, AHRC project World Heritage Sites for the Nation: The Preservation of World Heritage Sites in a National Context (2013–2015), on file with the author.

81. SIRISRISAK, Tiamsoon, “Conservation of Bangkok Old Town” (2009) 33 Habitat International 405411 .

82. Jack Tsen-Ta, LEE, “We Built This City: Public Participation in Land Use Decisions in Singapore” (2016) 10 Asian Journal of Comparative Law 122 .

83. Supra note 58.

84. Yung and Chan, supra note 78 at 459.

85. Logan, supra note 24 at 122.

86. Evans and Rowlands, supra note 57 at 278, 281.

87. WALL, Geoffrey and BLACK, Heather, “Global Heritage and Local Problems: Some Examples from Indonesia” in David HARRISON and Michael HITCHCOCK, eds., The Politics of World Heritage (Cleveland/Buffalo/Boston: Channel View Publications, 2005), at 156–9.

88. BUSHELL, R. and STAIFF, Russell , “Rethinking Relationships: World Heritage, Communities and Tourism” in Daly and Winter, supra note 7, 247–65 at 260.

89. DANIEL, Frank Jack and HAROONI, Mirwais , “Chinese Demands, Rebels and Buddhist Ruins Stall Afghan Copper Dream” Reuters (11 April 2015).

90. WYNDHAM, Constance , “Reconstructing Afghan Identity: Nation-Building, International Relations and the Safeguarding of Afghanistan’s Buddhist Heritage” in Basu and Modest, supra note 57, 122–42 at 139.

91. In this sense, see also LIXINSKI, Lucas, “Sustainable Development in International Heritage Law: Embracing a Backwards Look for the Sake of Forwardness?” (2015) Australian Yearbook of International Law 6586 .

92. Starr, supra note 23 at 9.

93. UNESCO, supra note 35 at 13.

94. Ibid., at 12.

95. Starr, supra note 23 at 10, 15.

96. American Express, “Corporate Responsibility, Historic Preservation Initiatives”, online: American Express <>; Starr, supra note 23 at 62, 81.

97. Starr, supra note 23 at 25, 27–8, 33–6.

98. For a catalogue of examples, see ibid., at 61–71.

99. UNESCO, “Private Sector” (October 2017), online: UNESCO <>.

100. Equator Principles, “The Equator Principles (October 2017), online: Equator Principles <>.

101. Starr, supra note 23 at 9–10.

102. Ibid., at 16, 43, 56.

103. UNESCO, “Partnerships” (October 2017), online: UNESCO <>.

104. UNESCO, “Building Capacities to Protect, Promote and Transmit Heritage” (October 2017), online: UNESCO <>.

105. Ibid.

106. UNESCO, “Protecting Heritage at Risk” (October 2017), online: UNESCO <>.

107. Ibid.

108. See TOURTELLOT, Jonathan B., “World Heritage’s Biggest Threat and Benefactor: Tourism” (2007) World Heritage Review 5460 .

109. On the benefits from tourism, see e.g. Amareswar GALLA, “World Heritage in Poverty Alleviation. Hoi An Ancient Town, Viet Nam” in Galla, supra note 6 at 107–20.

110. ASKEW, Marc, “The Magic List of Global Status: UNESCO, World Heritage and the Agendas of States” in Sophia LABADI and Coline LONG, eds., Heritage and Globalization (London: Routledge, 2010), 1944 at 40.

111. The Final Report on the Results of the Second Cycle of the Periodic Reporting Exercise for Asia and the Pacific, World Heritage Committee, UNESCO Doc. WHC-12/36.COM/10A (1 June 2012) at 55 lists tourism and transportation infrastructure among the human factors affecting WHC properties. Many impacts of tourists on sites are irreversible, including graffiti, looting, path and surface erosion, deteriorating effects of moisture, and humidity fluctuations. Starr, supra note 23 at 8.

112. Salazar, supra note 76 at 121–30; “Living Treasure. UNESCO Is Better at Naming Enemies than Finding Friends” The Economist (14 July 2012).

113. Logan, supra note 24 at 120–1.

114. Bevan, supra note 71.

115. PAGE, Simon, “Mecca: The ‘Blessed Heart’ of Islam” in Silvio FERRARI and Andrea BENZO, eds., Between Cultural Diversity and Common Heritage: Legal and Religious Perspectives on the Sacred Places of the Mediterranean (Farnham: Ashgate, 2014), 319329 at 324–6.

116. According to the WHC Committee, mining oil and gas stands as one of the factors affecting cultural and natural properties (Decisions Adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session, World Heritage Committee, UNESCO Doc. WHC-15/39.COM/7, (29 May 2015). See also Nafziger, supra note 8.

117. See supra section II.B.2. Other cases concerning the impact of large-scale works on cultural spaces have been discussed by domestic courts and international arbitral tribunals, see e.g. Coal Contractors Limited v. Secretary of State for the Environment and Northumberland County Council (United Kingdom, QBD, 1993); Tikiri Banda Nulankulama v. Secretary, Ministry of Industrial Development (Sri Lanka, 884/99, 2000); and Parkerings-Compagniet AS v. Republic of Lithuania (ICSID Case No. ARB/05/08, Award of 11 September 2007).

118. AFFOLDER, Natasha, “The Private Life of Environmental Treaties” (2009) 103 American Journal of International Law 510526 at 521.

119. VADI, Valentina, Cultural Heritage in International Investment Law and Arbitration (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014) at 251.

120. International Council on Mining and Metals, “Mining and Protected Areas”, Position Statement (September 2003), online: International Council on Mining and Metals <>. See also Stephen D. TURNER, “World Heritage Sites and the Extractive Industries” (20 June 2012), online: UNESCO <>.

121. International Council on Mining & Metals, “ICMM Calls for Stronger Legal Protection of World Heritage Sites” (5 September 2016), online: International Council on Mining & Metals <>.

122. See World Bank, “Operational Manual OP 4.11—Physical Cultural Resources” (April 2013), online: World Bank <>. This requires an assessment of the potential risks to physical cultural assets at an early stage through a consultative process involving project-affected groups, government authorities, and NGOs. World Bank, “Culture and the Corporate Priorities of the World Bank, Report on Progress from April 1999 to December 2002” (February 2003), online: World Bank <>.

123. See ICOMOS, “Guidance on Heritage Impact Assessments for Cultural World Heritage Properties” (January 2011), online: ICOMOS <>. This offers guidance on the process of commissioning “heritage impact assessments” for WHC properties in order to evaluate effectively the impact of potential development on the OUV of properties.

124. See Operational Guidelines, supra note 9, paras. 108, 110.

125. WHC, supra note 4, arts. 3, 6(1), 11(3).

126. Francioni and Lenzerini, supra note 26 at 403–5.

127. See e.g. Decision 38 COM 7 in Decisions Adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th Session (Doha, 2014), World Heritage Committee, UNESCO Doc. WHC-14/38.COM/16 (2014), at 12, para. 9, whereby the WHC Committee: “Welcomes the commitment made by TOTAL in June 2013 not to explore or exploit oil or gas inside sites inscribed on the World Heritage List as well as the new policy on World Heritage Sites adopted by the investment bank HSBC not to knowingly provide financial services to support projects which threaten the special characteristics of World Heritage properties and, also taking note of the discussions held between the World Heritage Centre, IUCN and International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association, calls on other companies in extractive industries and investment banks to follow these examples to further extend the ‘No go’ commitment.”

128. Heritage has been used and misused to impose the majority culture on minorities. See PHILP, Janette, “The Political Appropriation of Burma’s Cultural Heritage and Its Implication for Human Rights” in Michele LANGFIELD, William LOGAN, and Máiréad Nic CRAITH, eds., Cultural Diversity, Heritage and Human Rights: Intersections in Theory and Practice (London: Routledge, 2010), 83100 ; and SHEPHERD, Robert, “UNESCO and the Politics of Cultural Heritage in Tibet” (2006) 36 Journal of Contemporary Asia 243257 .

129. See e.g. RANJEVA, Raymond , “Les organisations non gouvernementales et la mise en œuvre du droit international” Collected Courses of the Hague Academy of International Law (1997) Vol. 270, 9–106.

130. D’ASPREMONT, Jean, “International Law-Making by Non-State Actors: Changing the Model or Putting the Phenomenon into Perspective?” in Math NOORTMANN and Cedric RYNGAERT, eds., Non-State Actor Dynamics in International Law: From Law-Takers to Law-Makers (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010), 171194 at 178.

131. For instance, Cambodia allegedly spent about $0.5m on the election campaign for its seat on the WHC Committee and up to $10m to secure Preah Vihear’s inscription on the WHC List. Kozymka, supra note 66 at 116.

132. Evans and Rowlands, supra note 57 at 279, 290.

133. FRANCIONI, Francesco, “A Dynamic Evolution of Concept and Scope: From Cultural Property to Cultural Heritage” in A. Yusuf ABDULQAQI, ed., Standard-Setting in UNESCO, Normative Action in Education, Science and Culture, Vol. I (Leiden/Boston: Martinus Nijhoff and UNESCO Publishing, 2007), 221236 at 229.

134. Evaluation of UNESCO’s Standard-Setting Work of the Culture Sector. Part III—1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, Internal Oversight Service, UNESCO Doc. IOS/EVS/PI/132 REV.3 (2014), at 43.

135. Logan, supra note 24 at 126.

136. Lixinski, supra note 91 at 66.

137. WHC, supra note 4, art. 5.

138. Operational Guidelines, supra note 9 at paras. 12, 39-40, 64, 119, 123; annex 3, para. 12; and annex 8.

139. Ibid., para. 77.

140. Supra note 31, arts. 22(d), 28, 30.

141. Strategic Action Plan for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention 2012–2022, UNESCO Doc. WHC-11/18.GA/11 (2011).

142. Ibid., at 4.

143. This Document was adopted by the forty-five participants at the conference on “Authenticity in Relation to the World Heritage Convention”, held at Nara, Japan in November 1994; the conference was organized by the Agency for Cultural Affairs of the Japanese Government, the Nara Prefecture, UNESCO, ICCROM, and ICOMOS.

144. Charter for the Conservation of Historic Towns and Urban Areas (Washington Charter 1987), October 1987, online: ICOMOS <>, art. 3.

145. Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society, 27 October 2005, C.E.T.S. No. 199 [2005 Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society of the Council of Europe]. As this Convention is open for signature by non-Member States, its application in Asia cannot be excluded.

146. Ibid., preamble, 5th para.

147. Ibid., art. 1(b).

148. Ibid., art. 11(b).

149. Ibid., art. 2(b).

150. See Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future in Development and International Co-operation: Environment, World Commission on Environment and Development, UN Doc. A/42/427 (1987), at annex. See also Realizing the Future We Want for All, UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (2012), online: United Nations Development Programme <>.

151. BANDARIN, Francesco, HOSAGRAHAR, Jyoti, and ALBERNAZ, Frances Sailer, “Why Development Needs Culture” (2011) 1 Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development 1525 ; World Bank, “Culture and the Corporate Priorities of the World Bank: Report on Progress from April 1999 to December 2002” (Washington: World Bank, 2003); SERAGELDIN, Ismail, “Cultural Heritage as Public Good: Economic Analysis Applied to Historic Cities” in Inge KAUL, Isabelle GRUNBERG, and Marc E. STERN, eds., Global Public Goods: International Cooperation in the 21st Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 240263 ; and SERAGELDIN, Ismail and MARTIN-BROWN, Joan, eds., Culture in Sustainable Development (Washington: World Bank, 1998).

152. Lixinski, supra note 91 at 65.

153. Kishore RAO, “Pathways to Sustainable Development” in Galla, supra note 6, 325–31 at 329.

154. The text of the WHC, which was adopted fifteen years before the Report “Our Common Future” (supra note 150), does not make any specific mention of the term “sustainable development”. It can be argued, however, that the WHC carries in itself the spirit of sustainability where it recognizes that the Contracting States have the duty “of ensuring the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and transmission to future generations of the cultural and natural heritage” (WHC, supra note 4, art. 4), and “to adopt a general policy which aims to … integrate the protection of that heritage into comprehensive planning programmes” (ibid., art. 5(a)).

155. Operational Guidelines, supra note 9 at 6.

156. Ibid., at para. 119.

157. Ibid., at para. 132(5).

158. See also Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, 2 November 2001, 2562 U.N.T.S. 3 (entered into force 2 January 2009), annex, at rule 14; Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, 17 October 2003, 2368 U.N.T.S. 1 (entered into force 20 April 2006), art. 2(1); and Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expression, 20 October 2005 (entered into force 18 March 2007), UNESCO, Records of the General Conference, 33rd Session, Paris (2005), art. 2(6).

159. Supra note 31, arts. 5, 11–13.

160. Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly on 22 December 2011, GA Res. 66/208, UN Doc. A/RES/66/208 at preamble, 3rd and 4th paras.

161. The Outcome Document of the UN’s Rio+20 Conference of 2012, is available at UNESCO, “Culture and Sustainable Development: The Key Ideas” (October 2017), online: UNESCO <>.

162. Ibid., art. 30.

163. Ibid., art. 40.

164. Ibid., art. 41.

165. Ibid., art. 58(j).

166. Ibid., art. 134.

167. See UNESCO, “Sustainable Development Goals for Culture on the 2030 Agenda” (October 2017), online: UNESCO <>.

168. Rao, supra note 153 at 330.

169. Lixinski, supra note 91 at 66.

170. Winter and Daly, supra note 7 at 15, 17.

171. MONTINI, Massimiliano, “Revising International Environmental Law Through the Paradigm of Ecological Sustainability” in Federico LENZERINI and Ana Filipa VRDOLJAK, eds., International Law for Common Goods (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2012), 271287 at 280; and Winter and Daly, supra note 7 at 12–13.

172. Lixinski, supra note 91 at 83.

173. Operational Guidelines, supra note 9, para. 119.

174. Lixinski, supra note 91 at 69–70.

* Senior Researcher (Art-Law Centre, Faculty of Law, University of Geneva, Switzerland). PhD (European University Institute, Italy); LLM (University College London, UK); JD (University of Siena, Italy). An earlier version of this paper was presented at the conference “Cultural Heritage Law and the Built Environment”, National University of Singapore, 17 March 2016. Thanks are due to the conference organizers and to the anonymous reviewers. The usual disclaimer applies.

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Asian Journal of International Law
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  • EISSN: 2044-2521
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