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Mexico is now part of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Committees of Cultural Heritage and Intergovernmental for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation.


Mexico became part of the World Heritage Committee after being elected during the 17th General Assembly of State Parties to the World Heritage Convention celebrated in Paris, France.

The election to the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin took place during the 35th Session of UNESCO General Conference. Romania, Hungary, Argentina, Guatemala, Venezuela, China, Korea, Nigeria and Iraq were also elected to serve a 4 years mandate.

Alfonso de Maria y Campos, general director of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) manifested his approval for both elections that represent an honor and a manifestation of the confidence that international community has on our country’s leadership due to achievements on protection of cultural heritage and the return of cultural goods to their country of origin.

Both appointments are a distinction and a great responsibility, declared De Maria y Campos, who thanked, in the name of Mexican Government, the nations that supported with their votes Mexico’s participation in both committees.

The INAH general director remarked that these designations strengthen the presence of Mexico in UNESCO. He recalled Mexico is now member of 4 international committees, World Heritage, Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and Promotion of the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation. Our country is candidate for the Scientific and Technical Advisory Council of the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.  

At the 17th General Assembly of State Parties to the World Heritage Convention were elected Mexico, South Africa, Ethiopia, Mali, Cambodia, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Thailand, Russian Federation, Estonia, France and Switzerland. Mexican delegation will be integrated by a group of INAH experts and from the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas.

Mexico is the American country with more goods inscribed in the World Heritage List, 25 of them cultural and 4 natural. On the last years, the Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California; Agave Landscape and Ancient Industrial Facilities of Tequila; Central University City Campus of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM); Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, and the Protective town of San Miguel and the Sanctuary of Jesus Nazareno de Atotonilco have become part of the List.

In this occasion, 30 nations expected to be included in the Committee; in order to guarantee the representation of different cultures and regions of the world, it was stipulated that some posts were reserved for State Parties with no goods inscribed in the World Heritage List.

This committee meets once a year to discuss the conservation state of sites part of the World Heritage List, and to determine which will be inscribed; it also analyses which sites may enter the List of World Heritage in Danger .

Mexico has been part of the World Heritage Committee for 3 periods, 1985-1991, 1991-1997 and 1997-2003. At the beginning of the last period Mexico presided the board.

Mexico will represent Latin America in the Subsidiary Organism that will evaluate candidatures for the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2010.