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Building a Global Network of World Heritage Site Managers

In the framework of an effective and active implementation of the World Heritage Convention, the overarching vision of building a sustainable global network of World Heritage Site Managers is to establish links and channels of communication amongst World Heritage stakeholders at the global level by providing a social media hub for World Heritage Site Managers while enhancing synergies between the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, the academic community and heritage professionals working in the field.

Fund this project
Budget Proposed
US$ 250,000

2.5 years


Conservation ● Capacity Building ● Communication

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The results of the Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting clearly demonstrated a strong motivation on the part of World Heritage Site Managers to develop cross-regional communication amongst World Heritage stakeholders. Site Managers emphasized the need to have a platform for sharing knowledge and encouraging dialogue, particularly concerning examples of best practice, how to complete statutory-related procedures such as the Periodic Reporting exercise, nomination procedures and State of Conservation reports, how to request international assistance, and how best to promote their World Heritage sites.

The World Heritage Capacity Building Strategy, adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session (Paris, 2011), identified the diverse and growing audiences that require capacity building initiatives for the conservation and management of World Heritage Sites. The development of resource materials – best practice cases and communication tools – are among the activities suggested by the Strategy for improving such capacities. Social Media provides a space where communication and dissemination of information can be targeted at specific audiences, and is particularly effective where common guiding principles govern the work of individuals and institutions spread across the globe, such as in the case of the protection and management of World Heritage properties.

In addition to its central role as Secretariat of the World Heritage Convention, the World Heritage Centre seeks to encourage and facilitate the effective conservation, protection and management of World Heritage Sites by establishing connections between sites, promoting the development of capacity-building measures in different regions of the World, and engaging in active communication and outreach to increase involvement and support for World Heritage.  The World Heritage Site Managers’ Network initiative incorporates each of these aims and activities and will promote the highest standards in conserving and protecting World Heritage sites.


  1. To open a new channel of communication via a social media platform; to promote the active involvement of key World Heritage stakeholders and a sustainable online community of practice amongst Site Managers.
  2. To facilitate and encourage the exchange of innovative ideas, experiences, good practices and lessons learned, and to create a sustainable online community amongst Site Managers, with the involvement of stakeholders and World Heritage practitioners involved in the implementation of the Convention.
  3. To increase the accessibility, availability and dissemination of up-to-date information on World Heritage activities being carried out in different regions, hence strengthening regional and global networks, enhancing cooperation amongst types of sites, and encouraging cross-regional partnerships.
  4. To promote the development of effective capacity building measures for the understanding and implementation of the Convention
  5. To enhance synergies with other UNESCO programmes and conventions, putting these in context and highlighting their crossovers, thus promoting public interest in these instruments while driving traffic to their individual sites and contributing to a broader understanding of the work of World Heritage and UNESCO as a whole.

& Beneficiaries

  1. An active, global knowledge and information-sharing platform for World Heritage Site Managers is created; managed by the World Heritage Centre, but driven by the Site Managers themselves, it becomes a hub of knowledge, full of discussions on World Heritage related matters and activities, best practice studies, innovative ideas, experiences and lessons learned.
  2. Active engagement between World Heritage Site Managers and World Heritage stakeholders is enhanced, to allow them to disseminate and share experiences with large audiences, thereby engaging larger online communities in World Heritage issues.
  3. A sustainable, dynamic and direct line of communication between World Heritage Site Managers is established. The online forum of the network acts as a space to promote all World Heritage projects and programmes, as well as allowing trends and activities at World Heritage Sites to be followed and gaps in training and understanding to be identified


  • Month 1 to month 6: research, development and communication
  • Month 7: Official Launching
  • Month 7 to month 12: administration, moderation, research & promotional campaigns
  • Month 12 to month 13: Side-event, feedback, & evaluation
  • Month 13 to month 18: administration, moderation, research & promotional campaigns; measure progress
  • Month 19 to month 24: assessment, recommandations and report to World Heritage Committee


With more than 1,000 properties inscribed, the World Heritage List represents not only a vast, global network of cultural, natural and mixed heritage sites, but also of professionals working in the field of heritage. Each individual Site Manager has a fundamental role to play in the implementation of the World Heritage Convention.

By setting up a knowledge and information-sharing platform, aimed at these Site Managers as well as other key World Heritage stakeholders, the World Heritage Centre will be able to develop a community that can convey the World Heritage Convention in a comprehensive, interactive and accessible manner, while individual Site Managers will be able to benefit from a network of expertise, support and exchange with like-minded professionals.

“The setting up of a Site Managers’ Network will help to strengthen regional and global partnerships, which is highly needed for experience sharing 
in managing UNESCO World Heritage sites better.”
Joshua Mwankunda
World Heritage Site Manager
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
(United Republic of Tanzania)


An estimated overall extrabudgetary funding of US$ 250,000 is needed for the implementation of this 2-year project (development and pilot phase).

These funds will cover human resources, media production (infographics, short videos, etc.), general communication material and communication campaigns, report production, the organisation of side-event(s), design and printing of the appropriate information material, as well as translation of the materials into the two official languages of the Convention.

Donor's visibility

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




Target audience

Social Network

Promotion/recurrent visibility 

Selected social network for the Site Manager's Network

World Heritage Site Managers  
 Other World Heritage stakeholders of the network 

  • 800 active members
  • At least500 contribution monthly(share,  comments, retweet, etc.)

Site Managers Network web page

World Heritage Centre website

● Public

Statistics for 2016:
  • 13,340 000 visits
  • 9,735 000 unique visitors
  • 4, 1650 00 pages viewed

Promotional and communication campaign via UNESCO different social networks as well as on UNESCO YouTube

UNESCO networks:

Facebook Instagram

● Public and subscribers to UNESCO social media

  • 1,300 000 social media subscribers 
  • 5.800.000 impressions per month
Statistics 2017 :

 : 63,841 subscribers : 1,271 453 subscribers

News and event article(s) in focus on UNESCO and World Heritage Centre website

World Heritage Centre's website Site:

● Public interested in world heritage issues  

Statistics for 2016:
  • 13,340 000 visits
  • 9,735 000 unique visitors
  • 4, 1650 00 pages viewed
  • 111, 343 members

UNESCO website :

● Public interested in UNESCO mandate

Statistics for June 2016 to June 2017
  • 38, 379 764 visits
  • 26, 763 513 pages viewed


World Heritage Committee - Official Launch and promotion campaign

● Committee members
 State Parties
● Observers
Site Managers
World media present

  • Around 2,000 participants from 193 countries
  •  5963 media coverage recorded during the 41COM
  • More than 2000 live connections on YouTube

Article on the Site Managers network in paper review

The World Heritage Review and/or World Heritage Paper Series 

● Public

  • More than 20 000 subscribers


Petya Totcharova
Head of Unit
Policy and Statutory Meetings
World Heritage Centre

Valentino Etowar
Associate Project 
Policy and Statutory Meetings Unit
World Heritage Centre
Tel: +33 1 45 68 13 85

See Also (1)
Strategic objectives
  • Communities
  • Capacity Building
  • Communication