A WORLD HERITAGE SITE is a landmark or area which is selected by the
To be selected, a World Heritage Site must be an already classified landmark, unique in some respect as a geographically and historically identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance (such as an ancient ruin or historical structure, building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, or mountain). It may signify a remarkable accomplishment of humanity, and serve as evidence of our intellectual history on the planet.
The sites are intended for practical conservation for posterity,
which otherwise would be subject to risk from human or animal
trespassing, unmonitored/uncontrolled/unrestricted access, or threat
from local administrative negligence. Sites are demarcated by UNESCO
as protected zones. The list is maintained by the international World
Heritage Program administered by the
The program catalogues, names, and conserves sites of outstanding
cultural or natural importance to the common culture and heritage of
humanity . Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds
from the World Heritage Fund. The program began with the Convention
Concerning the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural
Heritage, which was adopted by the General Conference of
As of July 2017, 1073 sites are listed : 832 cultural, 206 natural,
and 35 mixed properties, in 167 states. The Table of World Heritage
Sites by country , lists Italy as the home for the largest number of
sites with 53, followed by China (52), Spain (46),
* 1 History
* 1.1 Convention and background
* 2 Nominating process
* 3 Selection criteria
* 3.1 Cultural criteria * 3.2 Natural criteria * 3.3 Legal status of designated sites
* 4 Extensions and other modifications * 5 Endangered sites * 6 Statistics * 7 Countries with ten or more sites * 8 Consequences * 9 See also * 10 References * 11 External links
See also: World Heritage Committee
Convention concerning the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage SIGNED 16 November 1972
LOCATION Paris, France
EFFECTIVE 17 December 1975
CONDITION 20 ratifications
Director-General of the
LANGUAGES Arabic, English, French, Russian, and Spanish
In 1954, the government of
The project cost $80 million, about $40 million of which was
collected from 50 countries . The project's success led to other
safeguarding campaigns: saving
CONVENTION AND BACKGROUND
The United States initiated the idea of cultural conservation with
nature conservation. The
A single text was agreed on by all parties, and the "Convention
Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage"
was adopted by the General Conference of
The Convention came into force on 17 December 1975. As of May 2017, it has been ratified by 193 states parties , including 189 UN member states plus the Cook Islands , the Holy See , Niue , and the Palestinian territories . Only four UN member states have not ratified the Convention: Liechtenstein, Nauru, Somalia and Tuvalu.
A country must first list its significant cultural and natural sites; the result is called the Tentative List. A country may not nominate sites that have not been first included on the Tentative List. Next, it can place sites selected from that list into a Nomination File.
Up to 2004, there were six criteria for cultural heritage and four criteria for natural heritage. In 2005, this was modified so that there is now only one set of ten criteria. Nominated sites must be of "outstanding universal value" and meet at least one of the ten criteria. These criteria have been modified or/amended several times since their creation.
* "represents a masterpiece of human creative genius and cultural significance" * "exhibits 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" * "is an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural, or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates a significant stage in human history" * "is an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture, or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change" * "is directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance"
* "contains superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance" * "is an outstanding example 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" * "is an outstanding example 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" * "contains 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"
LEGAL STATUS OF DESIGNATED SITES
Thus, the Geneva Convention treaty promulgates:
"Article 53. PROTECTION OF CULTURAL OBJECTS AND OF PLACES OF WORSHIP. Without prejudice to the provisions of the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict of 14 May 1954,' and of other relevant international instruments, it is prohibited: (a) To commit any acts of hostility directed against the historic monuments, works of art or places of worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples; (b) To use such objects in support of the military effort; (c) To make such objects the object of reprisals."
EXTENSIONS AND OTHER MODIFICATIONS
A country may request to extend or reduce the boundaries, modify the official name, or change the selection criteria of one of its already listed sites. Any proposal for a significant boundary change or modify the site's selection criteria must be submitted as if it were a new nomination, including first placing it on the Tentative List and then onto the Nomination File.
A request for a minor boundary change, one that does not have a significantly impact on the extent of the property or affect its "outstanding universal value", is also evaluated by the advisory bodies before being sent to the Committee. Such proposals can be rejected by either the advisory bodies or the Committee if they judge it to be a significant change instead of a minor one.
Proposals to change the site's official name is sent directly to the Committee.
Main articles: List of World Heritage in Danger and Former UNESCO World Heritage Sites
A site may be added to the List of World Heritage in Danger if there are conditions that threaten the characteristics for which the landmark or area was inscribed on the World Heritage List. Such problems may involve armed conflict and war, natural disasters, pollution, poaching, or uncontrolled urbanization or human development. This danger list is intended to increase international awareness of the threats and to encourage counteractive measures. Threats to a site can be either proven imminent threats or potential dangers that could have adverse effects on a site.
The state of conservation for each site on the danger list is reviewed on a yearly basis, after which the committee may request additional measures, delete the property from the list if the threats have ceased or consider deletion from both the List of World Heritage in Danger and the World Heritage List.
Only two sites have ever been delisted : the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman and the Dresden Elbe Valley in Germany. The Arabian Oryx Sanctuary was directly delisted in 2007, instead of first being put on the danger list, after the Omani government decided to reduce the protected area's size by 90 percent. The Dresden Elbe Valley was first placed on the danger list in 2006 when the World Heritage Committee decided that plans to construct the Waldschlösschen Bridge would significantly alter the valley's landscape. In response, the Dresden City Council attempted to stop the bridge's construction, but after several court decisions allowed the building of the bridge to proceed, the valley was removed from the World Heritage List in 2009.
There are 1073 World Heritage Sites located in 167 states. Of these, 832 are cultural, 206 are natural and 35 are mixed properties. The World Heritage Committee has divided the world into five geographic zones which it calls regions: Africa, Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and North America, and Latin America and the Caribbean.
Russia and the
* ^ "World Heritage". Archived from the original on 30 June 2009.
* ^ "The World Heritage Committee".