United Nations Educational,
and Cultural Organization
Organisation des Nations Unies pour l’education,
la science et la culture
7, place de Fontenoy
75352 Paris 07 SP
1, rue Miollis
75732 Paris Cedex 15
Tel. :+ 33 (0) 184.108.40.206.74
Fax : + 33 (0) 220.127.116.11.91
12 JUN 2001
At the request of the Arab Group to UNESCO, the Secretariat of the World Heritage
Committee is hereby transmitting for information to States Parties to the World Heritage
Convention, an analysis submitted by the Arab Group of a legal opinion provided by
UNESCO’s Legal Adviser on matters concerning the Convention.
The legal opinion is contained in Annex 1. In providing this opinion the Legal Adviser
noted that: “(. . .) the UNESCO Secretariat has no authority to make interpretations of terms of
treaties or conventions. Only the States Parties can interpret the provisions thereof.”
The analysis, submitted by the Arab Group under cover of a letter dated 2 April 200 1,
is attached as Annex 2.
Please accept, Madam/Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration.
Assistant Director-General for Culture
Legal Advice from the Office of International Standards and Legal Affairs dated 16
October 2000 concerning Israel Tentative List and nominations of properties for
inscription on the World Heritage List.
“ In confirmation of what my predecessor has indicated to WHC (. . .), and which I had
recently confirmed earlier this month, the UNESCO Secretariat has no authority to make
interpretations of terms of treaties or conventions. Only the States Parties can interpret the
provisions thereof. Therefore, it is advisable that WHC apply the established procedures in the
standard and objective manner, in strict applications of the Operational Guidelines, and that
no interpretations of the terms of the World Heritage Convention be attempted.
From discussions with WHC, it appears that the Operational Guidelines for the
Implementation of the W