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World Heritage Volunteers Project

Conservation of our common cultural and natural heritage

The World Heritage Volunteers (WHV) Initiative encourages young people to undertake concrete preservation activities in action camps organised by youth organisations and institutions in cooperation with multiple stakeholders and partners.

The initiative mobilizes national and international volunteers through hands-on and awareness-raising activities for the conservation of our common cultural and natural heritage. Over the past ten years, the WHV Initiative has grown tremendously with increasing interest and appreciation for World Heritage protection, preservation and promotion.

Up to now, the initiative implemented a total of 477 action camps at 130 sites in 57 countries, involving 95 organisations and 4780 volunteers.

Fund this project
Budget Proposed
US$ 95,000

1.5 year



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How can we rethink heritage? How can the conservation, promotion and transmission of heritage be adapted to the challenges of the future? Urbanisation, climate change, global inequality, big data – much work lies before us. The most important actor in this debate is our global youth, the ones who will drive the change that is only starting now.

The World Heritage Volunteers Initiative provides an opportunity to get youth involved in World Heritage protection and preservation.

It is a yearly Campaign, which involves youth organisations and institutions to carry out around 50 action camp projects in the five regions of the World. The action camp projects, which are selected from a call for projects launched by UNESCO, include hands-on and awareness raising activities.

These action camp projects provide youth with knowledge; values; skills and capacity building on heritage conservation; and develop mutual understanding and networks among youth and educators. It also raises awareness amongst local communities about their heritage.

The initiative complements formal education in teaching the skills that are required for the job market, such as leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, planning, management, creativity, communication and negotiation. It is also in relation with global priorities such as youth, Africa and least developed countries (LDCs).


  1. Raise awareness among young people, volunteers, local communities, and concerned authorities of the need to protect and promote World Heritage
  2. Involve young people in World Heritage preservation through concrete projects at sites
  3. Empower young people allowing them to learn skills, basic preservation and conservation techniques and raise their capacity as future decision-makers and global active citizens
  4. Strengthen sustainable cooperation between non-profit organisations, site management, communities and authorities
  5. Identify best practices and develop non-formal education tools to facilitate stakeholders’ participation in the World Heritage education
  6. Mainstream gender equality in all stages of the projects and geographical diversity among the World Heritage properties where the action camps take place

& Beneficiaries

  1. Increased number of youth sensitized to the importance of protecting, preserving and promoting cultural and natural heritage; and mobilized to participate in WHV activities.
  2. Capacity-building actions carried out with systematic integration and transmission of hands-on skills and knowledge:
  • Synergies and partnerships at local level created
  • Non-formal educational tools developed and applied; and best practices promoted


If funds are available, the following timeline for the planning and implementation, can be envisaged:

  • Oct 2017 - Dec 2017: launching the Call for WHV projects and submission of project applications
  • Feb 2018 - Mar 2018: announcement of selected WHV projects
  • May 2018 - Nov 2018: implementation of the WHV projects, follow-up and monitoring visits
  • Dec 2018 - Feb 2019: reporting and follow-up evaluations


UNESCO is committed to empowering youth and ensuring that their voices are heard. The Organization is guided in this goal by an Operational Strategy on Youth (2014-2021).

Through this project, we are encouraging the active participation of youth, and the integration of youth concerns and issues into the awareness-raising activities carried out under the World Heritage Education Programme.


An estimated overall extrabudgetary funding of US$ 50,000 is needed for the implementation of a training workshop on capacity building for selected organisations as well as for coordination costs.


A communication & visibility plan will be developed in consultation with the donor(s) and will include (but not limited to) the options below:

Visibility material

Placement / Event



Article on the Homepage


WHC website: whc.unesco.org


Statistics for 2016: 13.340.000

unique visitors

41.650.000 pageviews

Reports to the World Heritage Committee


42nd World Heritage Committee session (June/July 2018)

WH Committee members, Observers, NGOs, site-managers, press

Approx. 2.000 participants from 193 countries



+ speech

42nd World Heritage Committee session (June/July 2018)

WH Committee members, Observers, NGOs, site-managers, press

Approx. 2.000 participants from 193 countries

Social media promotion


UNESCO official social media channel, including Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, Wechat, Weibo etc.


Approx. 30.000 targeted subscribers


Petya Totcharova
Policy and Statutory Meetings Unit
World Heritage Centre      

Sonia Zerroualy
Project Officer
Policy and Statutory Meetings Unit
World Heritage Centre