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.

3.5    Factors affecting properties

3.5.10    Climate change and severe weather events

Storms (For example: Tornadoes, Hurricanes/cyclones, Gales, Hail damage, Lightning strikes, River/stream overflows, Extreme tides). Flooding. Drought. Desertification. Changes to oceanic waters (For example: Changes to water flow and circulation patterns al local, regional or global scale, Changes to pH, Changes to temperature). Temperature change. Other climate change impacts.

Policy Document on the Impacts of Climate Change on World Heritage Properties

Conclusions. “The following are [the] key principles:

i. in addressing the impacts of climate change on the outstanding universal value, integrity and authenticity of World Heritage properties, the World Heritage community will work in cooperation with other partners that also have responsibility, resources and expertise related to this challenge.

ii. The World Heritage Committee will be an advocate for relevant climate change research, and work to influence and support partners that are mandated and resourced to carry out such research.

iii. World Heritage properties will be used wherever appropriate and possible as a means to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change upon World Heritage to act as a catalyst in the international debate and obtain support for policies to mitigate climate change, and to communicate best practices in vulnerability assessments, adaptation strategies, mitigation opportunities, and pilot projects.

iv. Climate change will be considered in all aspects of nominating, managing, monitoring and reporting on the status of these properties.

v. In considering the threat posed by climate change to the OUV, authenticity and/or integrity of a World Heritage property, the World Heritage Committee will use the existing tools and processes”.

ANNEX I. List of documents and texts

WHC-07/16.GA/10 Policy document on the impact of Climate Change on World Heritage properties