There is a well-developed process leading to the inscription of a property as a World Heritage Site. These stages are outlined in figure 1. More details can be obtained on the World Heritage Centre's Web site.
A national Tentative List is prepared by the State Party. In order for a site to be nominated as a potential World Heritage Site, it must first be on a State Party's Tentative List.
A detailed nomination dossier is prepared by those responsible for the site.
The nomination dossier is submitted to the World Heritage Centre, which checks that nominations are complete. The centre may ask for additional information from the nominating State Party.
Experts from the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) for cultural sites and from the World Conservation Union (IUCN) for natural sites visit the nominated site to evaluate its heritage values, its protection and management regime, and to confirm the level of support of the various stakeholders. The international experts prepare a technical report, which includes recommendations for consideration by the World Heritage Committee.
The World Heritage Committee makes a decision on the nomination. It can inscribe the site on the World Heritage List; refer the nomination back to the State Party for more information; defer it until further research work is conducted; or not inscribe the site on the list.
The timeframe from the reception of a nomination dossier by the World Heritage Centre to the Committee's decision is at least 18 months.