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UNESCO World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme
The UNESCO World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme represents a new approach based on dialogue and stakeholder cooperation where planning for tourism and heritage management is integrated at a destination level, the natural and cultural assets are valued and protected, and appropriate tourism developed.
World Heritage and tourism stakeholders share responsibility for conservation of our common cultural and natural heritage of Outstanding Universal Value and for sustainable development through appropriate tourism management.
Facilitate the management and development of sustainable tourism at World Heritage properties through fostering increased awareness, capacity and balanced participation of all stakeholders in order to protect the properties and their Outstanding Universal Value.
Sustainable Tourism Policy
and Strategy Development
The Silk Road Project
Developing a Sustainable Tourism Strategy for the Silk Roads Heritage Corridors with a focus on early intervention and upstream processes
UNESCO and UNWTO, supported by the UNESCO/Netherlands Funds-in-Trust, launching a major project in 2013 that will provide policy guidance to the destinations and will develop a common sustainable tourism strategy for visitor management, site presentation and promotion along these heritage Corridors.
Sustainable Tourism Tools
Manage tourism efficiently, responsibly and sustainably
based on the local context and needs
People Protecting Places is the public exchange platform for the World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme, providing education and information, encouraging support, engaging in social and community dialogue
The 'How To' guide offer direction and guidance to managers of World Heritage tourism destinations and other stakeholders to help identify the most suitable solutions for circumstances in their local environments and aid in developing general know-how.
Sustainable World Heritage Tourism Checklist is developed in the framework of the project Towards a Nordic-Baltic pilot region for World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism, it covers issues such as organization and management, monitoring, local communities, environmental issues, and visitor management.
Capacity Building Activities
Helping site managers and other tourism stakeholders
to manage tourism more sustainably
Capacity Building in
4 Africa Nature Sites
A series of practical training and workshops are being organized in four priority natural World Heritage sites in Africa (Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia) with the aim of providing capacity building tools and strategies for site managers to help them manage tourism at their sites more sustainably.
15 Pilot Sites in
The project Towards a Nordic-Baltic pilot region for World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism (2012-2014) was initiated by the Nordic World Heritage Foundation (NWHF). With a practical approach, the project has contributed to tools for assessing and developing sustainable World Heritage tourism strategies with stakeholder involvement and cooperation.
In 2011 UNESCO embarked on developing a new World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme.
The aim was to create an international framework for the cooperative and coordinated achievement of shared and sustainable outcomes related to tourism at World Heritage properties.
The preparatory work undertaken in developing the Programme responded to the decision 34 COM 5F.2of the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in Brasilia in 2010, which requested
“the World Heritage Centre to convene a new and inclusive programme on World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism, with a steering group comprising interested States Parties and other relevant stakeholders, and also requests the World Heritage Centre to outline the objectives and approach to the implementation of this programme".
The Steering Group was comprised of States Parties representatives from the six UNESCO Electoral Groups (Germany (I), Slovenia (II), Argentina (III), China (IV), Tanzania (Va), and Lebanon (Vb)), the Director of the World Heritage Centre, the Advisory Bodies (IUCN, ICOMOS and ICCROM), the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Swiss Government as the donor agency.
The Government of Switzerland has provided financial support for specific actions to be undertaken by the Steering Group. To coordinate and support the process, the World Heritage Centre has formed a small Working Group with the support of the Nordic World Heritage Foundation, the Government of Switzerland and the mandated external consulting firm MartinJenkins.
The World Heritage Committee directed that the Programme take into account:
- the recommendations of the evaluation of the concluded tourism programme (WHC-10/34.COM/INF.5F.3)
- the policy orientation which defines the relationship between World Heritage and sustainable tourism that emerged from the workshop Advancing Sustainable Tourism at Natural and Cultural Heritage Sites (Mogao, China, September 2009) (WHC-10/34.COM/INF.5F.1)
Overarching and strategic processes that the new World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme will be aligned with include the Strategic Objectives of the World Heritage Convention (the five C's) (Budapest Declaration 2002), the ongoing Reflections on the Future of the World Heritage Convention (WHC-11/35.COM/12A) and the Strategic Action Plan for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention 2012-2022 (WHC-11/18.GA/11), the Relationship between the World Heritage Convention and Sustainable Development (WHC-10/34.COM/5D), the World Heritage Capacity Building Strategy (WHC-10/34.COM/5D), the Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List (1994), and the Evaluation of the Global Strategy and PACT initiative (WHC-11/18.GA/8 - 2011).
In addition, the programme development process has been enriched by an outreach to representatives from the main stakeholder groups including the tourism sector, national and local governments, site practitioners and local communities. The programme design was further developed at an Expert Meeting in Sils/Engadine, Switzerland October 2011. In this meeting over 40 experts from 23 countries, representing the relevant stakeholder groups, worked together to identify the overall strategic approach and a prioritised set of key objectives and activities. The proposed Programme was adopted by the World Heritage Committee in 2012 at its 36th session in St Petersburg, Russian Federation.
International Instruments Relating to Sustainable Development and Tourism.
Resolutions adopted by the United Nations, charters adopted by ICOMOS, decisions adopted by the World Heritage Committee, legal instruments adopted by UNESCO on heritage preservation.
Resolutions adopted by the United Nations
- Report by the Department of Economics and Social Affairs: Tourism and Sustainable Development: The Global Importance of Tourism at the United Nations’ Commission on Sustainable Development 7th Session (1999)
- Resolution A/RES/56/212 and the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism adopted by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (1999)
Charters adopted by ICOMOS
- The ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Charter (1999)
- The ICOMOS Charter for the Interpretation and Presentation of Cultural Heritage Sites (2008)
Decisions adopted by the World Heritage Committee
- Decision (XVII.4-XVII.12) adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 25th Session in Helsinki (2001)
- Decision 33 COM 5A adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 30th Session in Seville (2009)
- Decision 34 COM 5F.2 adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th Session in Brasilia (2010)
- Decision 36 COM 5E adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th Session in Saint Petersburg (2012)
Legal instruments adopted by UNESCO on heritage preservation in chronological order
- Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970)
- The Recommendation for the Protection of Movable Cultural Property (1978)
- The Recommendation on the Safeguarding of Traditional Culture and Folklore (1989)
- The Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural heritage (2001)
- The Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005)