This document is a partial export of the World Heritage Policy Compendium


3    Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties

Conservation of cultural and natural heritage is at the core of the Convention. Conservation includes effective and active measures that can be taken by States Parties to ensure the identification, protection, presentation and transmission of heritage.

There is no single definition of conservation in relation to both cultural and natural heritage. However, with regards to cultural heritage ‘all operations designed to understand a property, know its history and meaning, ensure its material safeguard, and, if required, its restoration and enhancement’ could be part of its conservation (Nara Document on Authenticity). Conservation of natural heritage refers to the protection, care, management and maintenance of ecosystems, habitats, wildlife species and populations, within or outside of their natural environments, in order to safeguard the natural conditions for their long-term permanence (IUCN).

The Conservation theme includes policies related to protection, management, monitoring, impact assessments, factors affecting the properties, tourism and sustainable development.

3.6    Tourism and visitor management

Decision of the World Heritage Committee 34 COM 5F.2

2. "(…) The relationship between World Heritage and tourism is two way: tourism, if managed well, offers benefits to World Heritage properties and can contribute to cross-cultural exchange but, if not managed well, poses challenges to these properties (…);

Attachment A. Policy orientations: defining the relationship between World Heritage and tourism

2. (...)

Tourism is critical for World Heritage:

a. For States Parties and their individual properties,

i. to meet the requirement in the Convention to 'present' World Heritage;

ii. to realise community and economic benefits.

b. For the World Heritage Convention as a whole, as the means by which World Heritage properties are experienced by visitors travelling nationally and internationally,

c. As a major means by which the performance of World Heritage properties, and therefore the standing of the Convention, is judged,

i. many World Heritage properties do not identify themselves as such, or do not adequately present their Outstanding Universal Value;

ii. it would be beneficial to develop indicators of the quality of presentation, and the representation of the World Heritage brand.

d. As a credibility issue in relation to: i. the potential for tourism infrastructure to damage Outstanding Universal Value

i. the threat that World Heritage properties may be unsustainably managed in relation to their adjoining communities;

ii. sustaining the conservation objectives of the Convention whilst engaging with economic development;

iii. realistic aspirations that World Heritage can attract tourism."

ANNEX I. List of documents and texts

Decision 34 COM 5F.2