The process required for a site to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List is long and complicated. It has four main steps, each of which are a process in themselves: placement on a tentative list, submission of a nomination file, evaluation by an Advisory Body, and a final decision by the World Heritage Committee. The entire process usually takes about a year and a half, but can vary depending of the time taken for each step (World Heritage Ireland, 2010).
In order to submit sites to the World Heritage List, a country must first sign the World Heritage Convention, thereby committing to protecting their natural and culture heritage. After that, the State Party, in Ireland’s case, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, creates an inventory of the natural and cultural sites within the country (World Heritage Ireland, 2010). From these sites or combinations of sites, the State Party creates a Tentative List.
This list consists of sites believed to have “outstanding universal value” and that meet at least one of the ten criteria outlined in the revised Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (2012). This list is very important, because the World Heritage Committee can only consider nominations for sites already on the Tentative List (UNESCO, 2014). Also, the Tentative List lasts for five to ten years, before the State Party must update it; of course, the State Party can update it as often as the choose. This allows for a constant reevaluation of the sites on the Tentative List to determine if any should be added or removed, or if any are ready for the next step of the inscription process: nomination.
In order for the State Party to nominate a site, they must first compile a nomination file. The purpose of this file is to, demonstrate, as fully and completely as possible, the ‘Outstanding Universal Value’ of the site and why it fits the selected criteria (World Heritage Ireland, 2010 and UNESCO, 2104). To do this, the file should include a management history of the site, a plan for potential management and protection of the site, as well as maps outlining the site itself and a buffer zone.
The State Party should include both a management history of and a history of the culture surrounding the site in order to help establish its authenticity, integrity, and how it fits the selection criteria. The definitions of ‘authenticity’ and ‘integrity’ that UNESCO uses are in the Nara Document on Authenticity (World Heritage Ireland, 2010). The State Party can demonstrate the authenticity and integrity by listing and defending any and all works completed on the site, whether for conservation, restoration, or adaptation (World Heritage Ireland, 2010). This history of works is important, because if a site has been reconstructed so many times that barely an of the original survives, the site may no longer have authenticity. The history of the site itself and the surrounding culture is also important,...