2.3 Creating a World Heritage site
Politics inevitably influence the complex business of nomination to the World Heritage List. While UNESCO sets universal guidelines, in reality the process varies greatly from country to country and highlights very different national priorities and selection procedures. Ironically for a ‘world’ listing, it is the state parties that propose the sites, so national priorities may well be in conflict with efforts to produce a representative list at a global level.
There are three stages: listing, nomination and designation or inscription. At the outset a country makes an inventory of its most important cultural, natural or other features. This is called the Tentative List and is important because according to the protocols a country cannot nominate properties that have not already been listed here. Second, it selects a site/property from this list to place in a Nomination File, with an entry that is as comprehensive as possible and prepared with the advice of the World Heritage Centre.
The next stage is the evaluation by ICOMOS and/or IUCN, which then make their recommendations to the World Heritage Committee. The committee meets once a year primarily to decide whether or not to inscribe each nominated property on the World Heritage List. Given the complexity of the process and the detailed submissions, the great majority of suggestions are approved, though the committee sometimes defers the decision to request further information or data to enhance the case.