In July 2019, in Baku, the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee inscribed the French Southern Lands and Seas – Crozet, Kerguelen, Saint-Paul and Amsterdam and their maritime area – on the prestigious UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
The Convention concerning the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage was adopted by UNESCO in 1972. Its goal is to unite the efforts of the international community to protect cultural and natural heritage properties of outstanding universal value. « To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria. The protection, management, authenticity and integrity of properties are also important considerations. »
The World Heritage Convention is one of the most important tools for global conservation.Of the 1,121 properties inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2019, 39 cultural properties, 5 natural properties and 1 mixed property are French.
The application process
1. The first step in a nomination process is to have the natural and / or cultural property inscribed on the Tentative List of the country concerned. Only the sites that are included on the State Party’s Tentative List can be considered by the World Heritage Committee.
2. Once the site has been inscribed on the National Tentative List, a nomination is submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review.
3. The World Heritage Centre sends the nomination file to the appropriate Advisory Bodies for evaluation. The Advisory Bodies review the file, send their experts on mission to the nominated property and give recommendations to the World Heritage Committee. Regarding natural World Heritage properties, site assessment and monitoring are provided by IUCN.
4. Once a site has been nominated and evaluated, it is up to the Intergovernmental World Heritage Committee to make the final decision on its inscription. The Committee, which is composed of representatives of 21 States Parties to the World Heritage Convention, meets once a year to decide which sites will be inscribed on the World Heritage List.
The main steps in the nomination process of the French Southern Lands and Seas
December 2015: Start of the plan to present the nomination of the French Southern Lands and Seas to the World Heritage List.
April 2016: Submission of the nomination file to the French Tentative List.
June 2016: Inscription of the French Southern Lands and Seas on the French Tentative List.
June 2017: The French State selects the application of the French Southern Lands and Seas for submission to the World Heritage Committee in 2019.
1rst February 2018: The French State submits the nomination file to the World Heritage Centre for review.
November 2018 (mission with the Marion Dufresne): On-site mission of IUCN international experts for evaluation of the candidate property.
May 2019: Release of the IUCN evaluation report which recommends the inscription of the French Southern Lands and Seas on the World Heritage List.
July 2019: Inscription of the French Southern Lands and Seas on the World Heritage List at the 43rd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Baku (Azerbaijan)