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The World Heritage Convention

The Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (the World Heritage Convention) was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 1972. To date, more than 170 countries have adhered to the Convention, making it one of the most universal international legal instruments for the protection of the cultural and natural heritage.


The following organs are directly involved in the implementation of the Convention:

  • The General Assembly of States Parties to the Convention
    All countries which have ratified the Convention meeting every two years.

  • The World Heritage Committee
    21 States Parties elected by the General Assembly for 6-year periods meeting annually

  • The Bureau of the World Heritage Committee
    Seven members elected by the Committee to prepare its decisions.

  • Advisory Bodies
    Three international non-governmental or intergovernmental organizationss named in the Convention to advise the Committee in its deliberations:

  • Secretariat
    UNESCO provides the Convention's Secretariat. To this end, in 1992 the Director General of UNESCO established the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

    The following documents guide the deliberations of the Statutory Bodies established under the World Heritage Convention:

  • Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly of States Parties
  • Rules of Procedure of the World Heritage Committee (text)
  • Financial Regulations for the World Heritage Fund (text)
  • Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (text)

    According to Article 29.3 of the Convention, the World Heritage Committee submits a report on its activities at each of the ordinary sessions of the General Conference of UNESCO. These reports are also brought to the attention of the General Assembly.

    For all meetings of statutory bodies, the Centre prepares reports in the two official languages, English and French. These reports are contained in the secretariat's Documentation Unit and in the UNESCO Archives. Some of these reports are also being made available to this server's document repository.

    (parent:) http://www.unesco.org/whc/how.htm
    Update: 15 November 1997