World Heritage Sites


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  • Brief Introduction of World Heritage Convention Concerning

A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area which is selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as having cultural, historical, scientific or other form of significance, and is legally protected by international treaties. They are judged important to the collective interests of humanity. However, they have been increasingly threatened with destruction not only by the traditional causes of decay, but also by changing social and economic conditions which aggravate the situation with even more formidable phenomena of damage or destruction.

For better protection, Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage was adopted by the seventeenth session of the General Conference of UNESCO meeting in Paris in 1972. The convention lists out obligations of national protection and international protection of the Cultural and Natural Heritage. It also mandates the work of Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of Outstanding Universal Value, called "the World Heritage Committee", including among others, inclusion of a property in the World Heritage List and List of World Heritage in Danger.

Following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the 20th Session of General Assembly of States Parties to the World Heritage Convention adopted Policy Document for the Integration of a Sustainable Development Perspective into the Processes of the World Heritage Convention (ENG, FRA). The role of World Heritage properties as a guarantee of sustainable development needs to be strengthened. Their full potential to contribute to sustainable development needs to be harnessed. To this end, States Parties in implementing the Convention should consider the three dimensions of sustainable development, namely environmental sustainability, inclusive social development and inclusive economic development, together with the fostering of peace and security. UNESCO also published its intended contribution towards Sustainable Development Goals.

To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria, which are explained in the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention which, besides the text of the Convention, is the main working tool on World Heritage:

  • to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;
  • to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;
  • to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;
  • to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
  • to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;
  • to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria);
  • to contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;
  • to be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth's history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features;
  • to be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;
  • to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.

Education Programmes is an essential part of the Convention (Article 27 & 28). Association 3 Herissons will endeavour to strengthen appreciation and respect by general public of the cultural and natural heritage defined in Articles 1 and 2 of the Convention through our own programmes.

Please refer to the UNESCO website for the full text of the convention in 8 UN languages.

The full world heritage list could be viewed on UNESCO website.