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World Heritage: Canada

Periodic Report on the Application of the World Heritage Convention



December 2004

1.0 Introduction

The United States of America ratified the World Heritage Convention (the Convention) on December 7, 1973. Canada ratified the Convention on July 23, 1976.

2.0 Process of Preparing Report

The North American Regional Report results from a two-year process of discussion between Parks Canada - the State Party representative for Canada - and the United States National Park Service (US NPS) - the State Party representative for the United States of America.

On May 22, 2002, a Periodic Report Steering Committee - consisting of senior executives and key staff members from Parks Canada and the National Park Service - was struck at a meeting in Washington, D.C. The Committee established the broad directions for the project and over the next two years provided strategic guidance and key policy decisions, as required.

Following the Washington meeting, a questionnaire to guide the site managers in their drafting of the Section II reports was developed, based on the World Heritage Committee (1998).

In January 2003, the Steering Committee, Canadian and American World Heritage Site managers, key staff from within Parks Canada and the US NPS, and the World Heritage Centre met in Los Angeles, California to launch the project. The broad objectives of the project, roles and responsibilities, time lines and expectations were presented and discussed. This was the first-ever joint meeting of US and Canadian World Heritage Site managers. As such, the periodic report exercise launched an important networking and community-building process for federal, provincial, state and municipal authorities and others with responsibility for World Heritage in North America.

Throughout 2003, Section I and Section II reports were drafted. In January 2004, a second joint meeting of those involved in the project, including the World Heritage Centre, was convened in Quebec City, Québec. The meeting was an opportunity to review progress, take stock and plan the next steps in completing the various part of the report. Equally important, the meeting built upon the networking launched in Los Angeles and devoted one day to discussing potential joint initiatives among site managers to strengthen the implementation of the World Heritage Convention in North America.

The North American Regional Report, the Section I reports for Canada and the US and the Section II reports were the subject of public review during the summer of 2004. The reports were posted on the Parks Canada and US NPS websites for a period of eight weeks, and comments were solicited from key national stakeholder groups, Aboriginal groups, state and provincial governments, other federal government departments and the Canadian representatives of the Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Convention. Comments received were addressed as appropriate during the fall of 2004, before finalizing the reports in December 2004.