A nominated property is independently evaluated by two Advisory Bodies mandated by the World Heritage Convention: the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN), which respectively provide the World Heritage Committee with evaluations of cultural and of natural sites nominated. The third Advisory Body is the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), an intergovernmental organization which provides the Committee with expert advice on conservation of cultural sites, as well as on training activities.
Criteria for selection of World Heritage sites
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. These criteria 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. The criteria are regularly revised by the Committee to reflect the evolution of the World Heritage concept itself.
Culture Sector, UNESCO
Is responsible for important conventions and universal declarations, such as the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity which it implements in a number of areas in order to promote intercultural dialogue. The Cultural Heritage Division manages international campaigns and assists in safeguarding sites – some of which involve World Heritage properties – and masterpieces of oral and intangible heritage. It also carries out operational projects in cooperation with the World Heritage Centre, ICCROM, ICOMOS and ICOM.
includes all States Parties to the Convention. It meets once every two years during the ordinary session of the General Conference of UNESCO to elect the members of the World Heritage Committee, to examine the statement of accounts of the World Heritage Fund and to decide on major policy issues.
The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, is an intergovernmental body founded in 1956 which provides expert advice on how to conserve World Heritage sites, as well as training in restoration techniques.
Founded in 1946, the International Council of Museums is devoted to the promotion and development of museums and the museum profession at an international level. ICOM is a non-governmental organization with around 17,000 members in 140 countries, many of which have World Heritage sites with museums.
The International Council on Monuments and Sites, a non-governmental organization, was founded in 1965 after the adoption of the Charter of Venice, in order to promote the doctrine and the techniques of conservation. ICOMOS provides the World Heritage Committee with evaluations of properties with cultural values proposed for inscription on the World Heritage List, as well as with comparative studies, technical assistance and reports on the state of conservation of inscribed properties.
Intangible cultural heritage is the practices, expressions, knowledge and skills that communities, groups and sometimes individuals recognise as part of their cultural heritage. Also called living cultural heritage, it is usually expressed in one of the following forms: oral traditions; performing arts; social practices, rituals and festive events; knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; and traditional craftsmanship.
The World Conservation Union, an international, non-governmental organization founded in 1948, advises the World Heritage Committee on the inscription of properties with natural values. Through its worldwide network of specialists, it reports on the state of conservation of World Heritage sites.
The Nordic World Heritage Foundation was established as a Foundation by the Norwegian Government in March 2002 and was officially given UNESCO’s auspices by the General Conference in 2003. By joining efforts of the five Nordic Countries in support of the World Heritage Convention, the Foundation promotes World Heritage conservation by supporting innovative projects, preservation and fundraising activities throughout the world and continues to work towards a more balanced World Heritage List.
The Organization of World Heritage Cities was established in 1993 to develop a sense of solidarity and a cooperative relationship between World Heritage cities, particularly in view of the implementation of the Convention. The organization thus facilitates an exchange of knowledge, management techniques and financial resources for the purpose of protecting monuments and sites. There are over two hundred World Heritage cities to date.
Science Sector, UNESCO
with its Division of Ecological Sciences, the Division of Earth Sciences and the Bureau for Coordination of Environmental Programmes, cooperates with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN in executing operational projects concerning natural World Heritage properties, in particular those which are also UNESCO Biosphere Reserves.
are countries which have adhered to the World Heritage Convention. They identify and nominate sites on their national territory to be considered for inscription on the World Heritage List. States Parties have the responsibility to protect the World Heritage values of the sites inscribed and report periodically on their condition.
The first step a country must take is making an ‘inventory’ of its important natural and cultural heritage sites located within its boundaries. This ‘inventory’ is known as the Tentative List, and provides a forecast of the properties that a State Party may decide to submit for inscription in the next five to ten years and which may be updated at any time. It is an important step since the World Heritage Committee cannot consider a nomination for inscription on the World Heritage List unless the property has already been included on the State Party's Tentative List.
The UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre manages the database of World Heritage properties with natural values.
World Heritage Centre
is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Convention and for the administration of the World Heritage Fund.
World Heritage Committee
meets once a year, and consists of representatives from 21 of the States Parties to the Convention elected for terms up to six years. The Committee is responsible for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, allocates financial assistance from the World Heritage Fund and has the final say on whether a site is inscribed on the World Heritage List. It examines reports on the state of conservation of inscribed sites and decides on the inscription or removal of sites on the List of World Heritage in Danger.