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World Heritage
Marine Programme


50 flagship marine protected areas of Outstanding Universal Value:
Beacons of Hope In a Changing Ocean

What we do

State of Conservation Reporting

We monitor and prepare evaluations on how countries protect their sites by conducting field visits and collecting scientific data
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Global network of site managers

We connect daily managers from the 50 flagship marine protected areas to share conservation solutions and accelerate successful results
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Climate change adaptation

We assess climate change impacts on marine World Heritage and invest in building resilience at the site level
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World Heritage
in the High Seas

We explore how the 1972 World Heritage Convention could protect places of Outstanding Universal Value beyond national jurisdiction
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Where we work

Since the inscription of the first marine site on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1981, our network has grown in to a global collection of unique ocean places stretching from the tropics to the poles. Today, the List includes 50 unique ocean places across 37 countries – recognized for their unique marine biodiversity, singular ecosystem, unique geological processes or incomparable beauty.

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Marine World Heritage Highlights

Blue Carbon and UNESCO Marine World Heritage 

In March 2021, UNESCO released the first global scientific assessment of its World Heritage marine sites’ blue carbon ecosystems, highlighting the critical environmental value of these habitats. While these sites represent less than 1% of the world’s ocean, they host at least 21% of the world’s blue carbon ecosystem area, and 15% of the world’s blue carbon assets. 

The impact of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic and the wave of lockdowns across the globe had unprecedented effects for UNESCO marine World Heritage sites. The steep decline in tourism revenues left many sites struggling to keep rangers on the payroll, prevent illegal activity or to continue much needed research and monitoring. While local communities have seen a drastic reduction of their income, managers and their teams find creative ways to respond to the crisis and prepare for a future that allows people and nature to live in harmony.

Protecting UNESCO marine World Heritage through scientific research

From 7 to 30 October 2020, the photo exhibition 'Protecting UNESCO marine World Heritage through scientific research' highlights how local experts are spearheading scientific innovation. Through four scientific research missions carried out by Monaco Explorations, the exhibition illustrates how scientific research has become crucial for the sustainable conservation of the world’s most treasured places.


Empowering local managers through a new digital knowledge platform

In April 2020, the World Heritage Marine Programme launched a new digital knowledge platform that brings local managers from across the 50 marine World Heritage sites together to share best practices and success stories. The goal is to bring the best of expertise, scientific innovation and conservation solutions within reach of local management teams.

Resources

General Brochure

English
French | Spanish

Best Practice Guide

English
French | Spanish
Indonesian | Arabic

Partners

 

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World Heritage community

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UNESCO’s World Heritage Marine Programme

Images of the video in chronological order: ©Martial Dosdane - province sud; ©UNESCO/Daniel Correia; ©Brian Sullivan; ©Erick Higuera; ©Ministry of Trade, Sudan Government; ©Mary Bomford; B Navez Public Domain; ©Mary Bomford; Nikita Ovsayanikov/Wild Russia/Public Domain; ©James Watt/Seapics; ©UNESCO/Mark Kelley; ©FAICO; ©Brian Sullivan; ©UNESCO/Daniel Correia; ©Ministry of Trade, Sudan Government; ©UNESCO/Andreas Kruger; ©KfW Stiftung / Stefan Daub; ©UNESCO/Daniel Correia;© @mdf; ©UNESCO/Daniel Correia;

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