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World Heritage
POLICY COMPENDIUM

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1 - General Policies Regarding the World Heritage Convention

1.2 - UNESCO standard-setting texts and synergies with other Conventions and Programmes

37. "[The World Heritage Committee] highlights the need to strengthen cooperation with other cultural heritage and biodiversity-related Conventions and intergovernmental programmes, with a view to contributing to improved conservation and sustainable management of World Heritage."
Theme:  1.2 - UNESCO standard-setting texts and synergies with other Conventions and Programmes
Decision:  41COM 14

1 - General Policies Regarding the World Heritage Convention

1.2 - UNESCO standard-setting texts and synergies with other Conventions and Programmes

5. "[The World Heritage Committee] welcomes the increased collaboration among the Biodiversity-related Conventions through the Biodiversity Liaison Group and focused activities, including workshops, joint statements and awareness-raising."
Theme:  1.2 - UNESCO standard-setting texts and synergies with other Conventions and Programmes
Decision:  42COM 5A

1 - General Policies Regarding the World Heritage Convention

1.3 - Shared Responsibility and International Cooperation

1.3.1 - General

Article 6

"1. Whilst fully respecting the sovereignty of the States on whose territory the cultural and natural heritage mentioned in Articles 1 and 2 is situated, and without prejudice to property right provided by national legislation, the States Parties to this Convention recognize that such heritage constitutes a world heritage for whose protection it is the duty of the international community as a whole to co-operate.

2. The States Parties undertake, in accordance with the provisions of this Convention, to give their help in the identification, protection, conservation and presentation of the cultural and natural heritage referred to in paragraphs 2 and 4 of Article 11 if the States on whose territory it is situated so request.

3. Each State Party to this Convention undertakes not to take any deliberate measures which might damage directly or indirectly the cultural and natural heritage referred to in Articles 1 and 2 situated on the territory of other States Parties to this Convention."

Theme:  1.3.1 - General
Source:  Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage

1 - General Policies Regarding the World Heritage Convention

1.3 - Shared Responsibility and International Cooperation

1.3.1 - General

66. “Member States should co-operate with regard to the protection, conservation and presentation of the cultural and natural heritage, seeking aid, if it seems desirable, from international organizations, both intergovernmental and non-governmental. Such multilateral or bilateral co-operation should be carefully co-ordinated and should take the form of measures such as the following:

a) exchange of information and of scientific and technical publications;

b) organization of seminars and working parties on particular subjects;

c) provision of study and travel fellowships, and of scientific, technical and administrative staff, and equipment;

d) provision of facilities for scientific and technical training abroad, by allowing young research workers and technicians to take part in architectural projects, archaeological excavations and the conservation of natural sites;

e) co-ordination, within a group of Member States, of large-scale projects involving conservation, excavations, restoration and rehabilitation work, with the object of making the experience gained generally available”.

Theme:  1.3.1 - General
Source:  Annex III. Revised draft recommendation concerning the protection, at national level of the cutural and natural heritage

1 - General Policies Regarding the World Heritage Convention

1.3 - Shared Responsibility and International Cooperation

1.3.1 - General

Paragraph 215

“The Committee develops and coordinates international co-operation in the area of research needed for the effective implementation of the Convention. States Parties are also encouraged to make resources available to undertake research, since knowledge and understanding are fundamental to the identification, management, and monitoring of World Heritage properties. States Parties are encouraged to support scientific studies and research methodologies, including traditional and indigenous knowledge held by local communities and indigenous peoples, with all necessary consent. Such studies and research are aimed at demonstrating the contribution that the conservation and management of World Heritage properties, their buffer zones and wider setting make to sustainable development, such as in conflict prevention and resolution, including, where relevant, by drawing on traditional ways of dispute resolution that may exist within communities."

Theme:  1.3.1 - General
Source:  OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.17/01 - 12 July 2017)

1 - General Policies Regarding the World Heritage Convention

1.3 - Shared Responsibility and International Cooperation

1.3.1 - General

“International cooperation and shared responsibility through the World Heritage Convention ensures effective conservation of our common cultural and natural heritage, nurtures respect and understanding among the world’s communities and cultures, and contributes to their sustainable development”.[1]

3. “Through cooperation, we seek:
  • A sustainable environment in which States Parties are encouraged, supported and assisted by the international community to fully meet their obligations and enjoy their rights under the World Heritage Convention;
  • Local, national and international communities, both now and in the future, which feel a connection to, engage with and benefit from the world’s natural and cultural heritage;
  • A World Heritage List that is a credible, relevant and representative selection of the world’s most outstanding heritage sites;
  • A World Heritage system which remains transparent, equitable, accountable and efficient in an ever-changing world”.



[1]           Considered as “Our Vision for 2022” within the Strategic Action Plan for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention 2012-2022 (see page 2 of WHC-11/18.GA/11).

Theme:  1.3.1 - General
Source:  WHC-11/18.GA/11 Future of the World Heritage Convention

1 - General Policies Regarding the World Heritage Convention

1.3 - Shared Responsibility and International Cooperation

1.3.2 - International Assistance

Paragraph 189

“The Committee shall allocate a specific, significant portion of the World Heritage Fund to financing of possible assistance to World Heritage properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger.”

Theme:  1.3.2 - International Assistance
Source:  OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.17/01 - 12 July 2017)

1 - General Policies Regarding the World Heritage Convention

1.3 - Shared Responsibility and International Cooperation

1.3.2 - International Assistance

Paragraph 233

“The Convention provides International Assistance to States Parties for the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage located on their territories and inscribed, or potentially suitable for inscription on the World Heritage List. International Assistance should be seen as supplementary to national efforts for the conservation and management of World Heritage and Tentative List properties when adequate resources cannot be secured at the national level.”

Theme:  1.3.2 - International Assistance
Source:  OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.17/01 - 12 July 2017)

1 - General Policies Regarding the World Heritage Convention

1.3 - Shared Responsibility and International Cooperation

1.3.2 - International Assistance

Paragraph 237

“States Parties in arrears of payment of their compulsory or voluntary contributions to the World Heritage Fund are not eligible for international assistance, it being understood that this provision does not apply to requests for emergency assistance.”

Theme:  1.3.2 - International Assistance
Source:  OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.17/01 - 12 July 2017)

1 - General Policies Regarding the World Heritage Convention

1.3 - Shared Responsibility and International Cooperation

1.3.2 - International Assistance

Paragraph 238

“To support its Strategic Objectives, the Committee also allocates International Assistance in conformity with the priorities set out in its decisions and in the Regional Programmes it adopts as a follow up to Periodic Reports.”
Theme:  1.3.2 - International Assistance
Source:  OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.17/01 - 12 July 2017)

1 - General Policies Regarding the World Heritage Convention

1.3 - Shared Responsibility and International Cooperation

1.3.2 - International Assistance

Paragraph 239

“(…) The following considerations govern the Committee’s decisions in granting International Assistance:

a) the likelihood that the assistance will have a catalytic and multiplier effect (“seed money”) and promote financial and technical contributions from other sources;

b) when funds available are limited and a selection has to be made, preference is given to:

. a Least Developed Country or Low Income Economy as defined by the United Nations Economic and Social Council's Committee for Development Policy, or
. a Lower Middle Income Country as defined by the World Bank, or
. a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), or
. a State Party in a post-conflict situation;

c) the urgency of the protective measures to be taken at World Heritage properties;

d) whether the legislative, administrative and, wherever possible, financial commitment of the recipient State Party is available to the activity;

e) the impact of the activity on furthering the Strategic Objectives decided by the Committee;

f) the degree to which the activity responds to needs identified through the reactive monitoring process and/or the analysis of regional Periodic Reports;

g) the exemplary value of the activity in respect to scientific research and the development of cost effective conservation techniques;

h) the cost of the activity and expected results; and

i) the educational value both for the training of experts and for the general public.”

Theme:  1.3.2 - International Assistance
Source:  OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.17/01 - 12 July 2017)

1 - General Policies Regarding the World Heritage Convention

1.3 - Shared Responsibility and International Cooperation

1.3.2 - International Assistance

Paragraph 240

“A balance will be maintained in the allocation of resources between cultural and natural heritage and between Conservation and Management and Preparatory Assistance (...)”.

Theme:  1.3.2 - International Assistance
Source:  OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.17/01 - 12 July 2017)

1 - General Policies Regarding the World Heritage Convention

1.3 - Shared Responsibility and International Cooperation

1.3.2 - International Assistance

23. "[The World Heritage Committee] urges States Parties, in coordination with the World Heritage Centre, to give priority within international assistance in implementing emergency measures to mitigate significant damages resulting from natural disasters that are likely to affect the Outstanding Universal Value of World Heritage properties."
Theme:  1.3.2 - International Assistance
Decision:  42COM 7

1 - General Policies Regarding the World Heritage Convention

1.3 - Shared Responsibility and International Cooperation

1.3.3 - Regional cooperation

Paragraph 201

Periodic Reporting serves four main purposes:

a) to provide an assessment of the application of the World Heritage Convention by the State Party;

b) to provide an assessment as to whether the Outstanding Universal Value of the properties inscribed on the World Heritage List is being maintained over time;

c) to provide up-dated information about the World Heritage properties to record the changing circumstances and state of conservation of the properties;

d) to provide a mechanism for regional co-operation and exchange of information and experiences between States Parties concerning the implementation of the Convention and World Heritage conservation.”

Theme:  1.3.3 - Regional cooperation
Source:  OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.17/01 - 12 July 2017)

1 - General Policies Regarding the World Heritage Convention

1.3 - Shared Responsibility and International Cooperation

1.3.3 - Regional cooperation

Paragraph 205bis

“The Periodic Reporting process is used as an opportunity for regional exchange and cooperation and to enhance active co-ordination and synchronization between States Parties, particularly in the case of transboundary and transnational properties.”

Theme:  1.3.3 - Regional cooperation
Source:  OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.17/01 - 12 July 2017)
Code:  959

1 - General Policies Regarding the World Heritage Convention

1.4 - Heritage policies at national level

Article 4

“Each State Party to this Convention recognizes that the duty of ensuring the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and transmission to future generations of the cultural and natural heritage referred to in Articles 1 and 2 and situated on its territory, belongs primarily to that State. It will do all it can to this end, to the utmost of its own resources and, where appropriate, with any international assistance and co-operation, in particular, financial, artistic, scientific and technical, which it may be able to obtain”.


Article 5

“To ensure that effective and active measures are taken for the protection, conservation and presentation of the cultural and natural heritage situated on its territory, each State Party to this Convention shall endeavour, in so far as possible, and as appropriate for each country:

(a) to adopt a general policy which aims to give the cultural and natural heritage a function in the life of the community and to integrate the protection of that heritage into comprehensive planning programmes;

(b) to set up within its territories, where such services do not exist, one or more services for the protection, conservation and presentation of the cultural and natural heritage with an appropriate staff and possessing the means to discharge their functions;

(c) to develop scientific and technical studies and research and to work out such operating methods as will make the State capable of counteracting the dangers that threaten its cultural or natural heritage;

(d) to take the appropriate legal, scientific, technical, administrative and financial measures necessary for the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and rehabilitation of this heritage; and

(e) to foster the establishment or development of national or regional centres for training in the protection, conservation and presentation of the cultural and natural heritage and to encourage scientific research in this field”.


Article 17

“The States Parties to this Convention shall consider or encourage the establishment of national public and private foundations or associations whose purpose is to invite donations for the protection of the cultural and natural heritage (...)”.

Theme:  1.4 - Heritage policies at national level
Source:  Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage

1 - General Policies Regarding the World Heritage Convention

1.4 - Heritage policies at national level

3. "In conformity with their jurisdictional and legislative requirements, each State should formulate, develop and apply as far as possible a policy whose principal aim should be to co-ordinate and make use of all scientific, technical, cultural and other resources available to secure the effective protection, conservation and presentation of the cultural and natural heritage."

4. "The cultural and natural heritage represents wealth, the protection, conservation and presentation of which impose responsibilities on the States in whose territory it is situated, both vis-a-vis their own nationals and vis-a-vis the international community as a whole; Member States should take such action as may be necessary to meet these responsibilities."
Theme:  1.4 - Heritage policies at national level
Source:  Annex III. Revised draft recommendation concerning the protection, at national level of the cutural and natural heritage

1 - General Policies Regarding the World Heritage Convention

1.4 - Heritage policies at national level

Paragraph 15

“While fully respecting the sovereignty of the States on whose territory the cultural and natural heritage is situated, States Parties to the Convention recognize the collective interest of the international community to cooperate in the protection of this heritage. States Parties to the World Heritage Convention, have the responsibility to:

a) ensure the identification, nomination, protection, conservation, presentation, and transmission to future generations of the cultural and natural heritage found within their territory, and give help in these tasks to other States Parties that request it;

b) adopt general policies to give the heritage a function in the life of the community;

c) integrate heritage protection into comprehensive planning programmes;

d) establish services for the protection, conservation and presentation of the heritage;

e) develop scientific and technical studies to identify actions that would counteract the dangers that threaten the heritage;

f) take appropriate legal, scientific, technical, administrative and financial measures to protect the heritage;

g) foster the establishment or development of national or regional centres for training in the protection, conservation and presentation of the heritage and encourage scientific research in these fields;

h) not take any deliberate measures that directly or indirectly damage their heritage or that of another State Party to the Convention;

i) submit to the World Heritage Committee an inventory of properties suitable for inscription on the World Heritage List (referred to as a Tentative List);

j) make regular contributions to the World Heritage Fund, the amount of which is determined by the General Assembly of States Parties to the Convention;

k) consider and encourage the establishment of national, public and private foundations or associations to facilitate donations for the protection of World Heritage;

l) give assistance to international fund-raising campaigns organized for the World Heritage Fund;

m) use educational and information programmes to strengthen appreciation and respect by their peoples of the cultural and natural heritage defined in Articles 1 and 2 of the Convention, and to keep the public informed of the dangers threatening this heritage;

n) provide information to the World Heritage Committee on the implementation of the World Heritage Convention and state of conservation of properties.”

Theme:  1.4 - Heritage policies at national level
Source:  OG Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (WHC.17/01 - 12 July 2017)

1 - General Policies Regarding the World Heritage Convention

1.4 - Heritage policies at national level

8. "[The World Heritage Committee] calls upon States Parties to ensure that sustainable development principles are mainstreamed into their national processes related to World Heritage, in full respect of the Outstanding Universal Value of World Heritage properties."
Theme:  1.4 - Heritage policies at national level
Decision:  41COM 5C

1 - General Policies Regarding the World Heritage Convention

1.5 - Relation between culture and nature

8. “In applying a sustainable development perspective within the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, States Parties should also recognize the close links and interdependence of biological diversity and local cultures within the socio-ecological systems of many World Heritage properties. These have often developed over time through mutual adaptation between humans and the environment, interacting with and affecting one another in complex ways, and are fundamental components of the resilience of communities. This suggests that any policy aiming to achieve sustainable development will necessarily have to take into consideration the interrelationship of biological diversity with the local cultural context”.

11. “(…) A focus on cultural and biological diversity as well as the linkages between the conservation of cultural and natural heritage and the various dimensions of sustainable development will enable all those concerned to better engage with World Heritage, protect its OUV and fully harness its potential benefits for communities”.

15. “States Parties should ensure that biological and cultural diversity, as well as ecosystem services and benefits for people that contribute to environmental sustainability, are protected and enhanced within World Heritage properties, their buffer zones and their wider settings. To this end, States Parties should:

i. Integrate consideration for biological and cultural diversity as well as ecosystem services and benefits within the conservation and management of all World Heritage properties, including mixed and cultural ones,

ii. Avoid, and if not possible mitigate, all negative impacts on the environment and cultural diversity when conserving and managing World Heritage properties and their wider settings. This can be achieved by promoting environmental, social and cultural impact assessment tools when undertaking planning in sectors such as urban development, transport, infrastructure, mining and waste management - as well as by applying sustainable consumption and production patterns and promoting the use of renewable energy sources”.

Theme:  1.5 - Relation between culture and nature
Source:  Policy for the integration of a sustainable development perspective into the processes of the World Heritage Convention (WHC-15/20.GA/INF.13)
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1.1.1 - General
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2.1 - Nominations to the World Heritage List
2.2.1 - Outstanding Universal Value: definition and ...
2.2.2.1 - General
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2.2.3 - Authenticity
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2.2.5.3 - Management systems
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2.2.5.5 - Impact assessment
2.2.6.1 - Boundaries
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2.6 - Comparative studies
2.7.1 - Cultural, Natural and Mixed Properties
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2.7.4.1 - General
2.7.4.2 - Historic Urban Landscapes
3.1 - Protection, conservation and management of World ...
3.2.1 - General
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3.2.4 - List of World Heritage in Danger
3.2.5 - Deletion of a World Heritage property from the ...
3.3 - Impact assessments
3.4 - Disaster risks management
3.5.1 - Buildings and development
3.5.2 - Transportation infrastructure
3.5.3 - Utilities or service infrastructure
3.5.4 - Pollution
3.5.5 - Biological resource use/modification
3.5.6 - Physical resource extraction
3.5.7 - Local conditions affecting the fabric
3.5.8 - Social/cultural uses of heritage
3.5.9 - Other human activities
3.5.10 - Climate change and severe weather events
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3.5.12 - Invasive/alien species or hyper-abundant ...
3.5.13 - Management and institutional factors
3.6 - Tourism and visitor management
3.7 - Sustainable development
4.1 - General capacity-building policies
4.2 - Global capacity-building strategy
5.1 - Education and awareness-raising
5.2 - Interpretation
5.3 - World Heritage emblem
6.1 - Participation of local communities and other ...
6.2 - Human rights and rights-based approach
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6.4 - Indigenous peoples
6.5 - Youth
6.6 - Fostering of peace and security