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31. Given the high number of nominations and the problems that this situation might cause for their evaluation and the smooth running of the work of the Committee, the Bureau had wished that the Committee examine whether it was suitable - and in which manner - to eventually envisage a limitation to the number of nominations in the future. The Committee also expressed its concern that the examination of nominations had taken up most of the time available at the expense of the other items on the agenda, particularly financial matters.

32. Several members of the Committee considered that it was desirable to keep the World Heritage List, established under the increasingly popular World Heritage Convention, open to as many nominations as possible while ensuring quality control and adherence to the operational guidelines. One view was expressed that it should be possible to improve the working methods and procedures of the Committee, particularly for examining nominations more rapidly and effectively, by providing information on the categories of nominations already received and the States Parties concerned.

33. The Committee reviewed the means that could be envisaged for limiting the number of nominations in the future in as fair as possible a manner: several ideas were put forward such as limiting the maximum of nominations to be examined each year to say 25 or 30 giving priority to previously deferred nominations; the strict application of criteria; the review and updating of tentative lists particularly for cultural sites; the possibility of classifying nominations by types giving preference to nominations of sites corresponding to themes which were under or not represented on the World Heritage List; calling on States Parties to voluntarily limit the number of nominations submitted each year, etc.

34. A member of the Committee suggested that although the Convention did not oblige the States Parties to draw up lists of properties of national or regional importance, such lists could possibly be brought to the attention of the Committee for its information.

35. The Committee recognised that the question of the number and type of nominations was a complex issue which had already been raised at its previous sessions and which would need to be studied in some depth. The Committee decided to establish a working group, and the Chairman set out its terms of reference as follows: to review all the sites already inscribed on the World Heritage List; to review the tentative lists already received; to review ways and means of ensuring a rigorous application of the criteria established by the Committee; to review ways and means of better managing the agenda of the Committee sessions. The proposals of the working group on the above questions will be submitted to the Bureau at its next session.

36. The following States Parties indicated that they wished to participate in the working group, under the chairmanship of Sri Lanka: Australia, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Mexico, Tunisia. The working group would remain open to other members of the Committee who wished also to take part.