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

3.5.6    Physical resource extraction

Mining. Quarrying For example: Rock, Sand, Aggregates. Oil and gas. Water.

Case Law

Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee requests States Parties not to explore or mine in World Heritage properties, in line with the Committee’s established position that mineral exploration and mining are incompatible with World Heritage status and the international policy statement of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) of not undertaking these activities in World Heritage properties (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation). [1]

ANNEX I. List of documents and texts

Decision 35COM 7B.22 Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems (France) (N 1115)

Decision 37COM 7B.8 Banc d’Arguin National Park (Mauritania) (N 506)

Decision 40COM 7B.104 Grand Canyon National Park (United States of America) (N 75)

Decision 41COM 7A.19 East Rennell (Solomon Islands) (N 854)





[1] See for example Decisions 35COM 7B.22 , 37COM 7B.8 , 40COM 7B.104 , 41COM 7A.19 .