The World Heritage Convention

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The World Heritage Convention is a global conservation tool that combines culture and nature to promote dialogue between peoples.


Adopted by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1972, it is the only international treaty dedicated to both the preservation of cultural properties and the protection of nature. It is based on the principle that some cultural and natural sites are of such importance that their significance transcends national boundaries and holds the same inestimable worth for the whole of humankind. This is called Outstanding Universal Value.

States Parties which have ratified the Convention agree to nominate cultural and natural sites within their territories for inscription on the World Heritage List. The World Heritage Committee then decides whether to list the proposed sites. Once a site is inscribed on the List, the State Party must ensure the protection of the values that have earned it World Heritage status. The Committee monitors the state of conservation of the property and may request State Parties to take special measures when it deems necessary.

The World Heritage Committee is assisted in its mission by the World Heritage Centre, acting as secretariat of the Convention, as well as by three advisory bodies: ICOMOS and ICCROM (International Centre for the study of the preservation and restoration of cultural property)  for the cultural side and IUCN (International Union for conservation of nature) for the natural side.

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