The role of ICOMOS in the World Heritage Convention

Article Index


To ensure as much as possible the proper identification, protection, conservation, and preservation of irreplaceable world heritage, the UNESCO Member States adopted in 1972 the Convention concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage (more known as the World Heritage Convention). The Convention complements national heritage conservation programmes and ensures the establishment of the World Heritage Committee and the World Heritage Fund. The World Heritage Committee shall, among other essential functions, identify, on the basis of nominations submitted by States parties to the Convention, the natural, cultural and mixed properties of exceptional universal value which are protected by the Convention and to list those sites on the World Heritage List.

ICOMOS is one of the three formal advisory bodies to the World Heritage Committee. It participates in the implementation of the Convention, along with IUCN ( the International Union for the Conservation of Nature), based at Gland (Switzerland), and ICCROM (the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property), based in Rome (Italy). ICOMOS is the professional and scientific advisor to the Committee on all aspects of the cultural heritage.

ICOMOS is in particular responsible for the evaluation of all nominations of cultural and mixed properties against the basic criterion of “outstanding universal value,” and the other criteria as specified in the Convention.

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