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

3.5.8    Social/cultural uses of heritage

Social factors that contribute to deterioration processes of the fabric of heritage sites. Some uses might have a positive impact as they enhance certain values (eg ritual, religious) while others might compromise ascribed values and could lead to the deterioration of the heritage place.

Ritual/spiritual/religious and associative uses (For example: Ritual/spiritual/religious uses and associations, Festivals/performances). Society’s valuing of heritage (For example: Changes in values leading to new uses of heritage resources, Expansions of / additions to current uses of heritage resources, Conflicting values, Abandonment). Indigenous hunting, gathering and collecting. Changes in traditional ways of life and knowledge system (For example: Loss of traditional knowledge and practices linked to heritage). Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community (For example: Changes to identity and social cohesion, Changes in livelihood, Migration to or from site, Changes in local population and community). Impacts of tourism/visitor/recreation (For example: Inappropriate/non-existent interpretation, High levels of visitation, Increase of vendors inside/outside site, Building community support, sustainable livelihoods).

Case Law

Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee encourages States Parties to take into account the traditional uses of local communities and to support the livelihoods of local communities through initiatives related to environmentally and culturally compatible options in order to prevent any threats from human activity to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and to promote the sustainable exploitation of resources and sustainable livelihoods (based on case law on decisions on the State of Conservation). [1]

ANNEX I. List of documents and texts

Decision 38 COM 7B.61

Decision 39 COM 7B.52

Decision 39 COM 7B.61

Decision 39 COM 7B.66

Decision 40 COM 7A.37

Decision 40 COM 7B.64

Decision 40 COM 7B.86

Decision 41 COM 7A.19

Decision 41 COM 7B.19

Decision 41 COM 7B.29

Decision 41 COM 7B.35

Decision 41 COM 7B.79





[1] See for example Decisions 38 COM 7B.61 , 39 COM 7B.52 , 39 COM 7B.61 , 39 COM 7B.66 , 40 COM 7A.37 , 40 COM 7B.64 , 40 COM 7B.86 , 41 COM 7A.19 , 41 COM 7B.19 , 41 COM 7B.29 , 41 COM 7B.35 , 41 COM 7B.79 .