This document is a partial export of the World Heritage Policy Compendium
3 Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 Factors affecting properties
3.5.8 Social/cultural uses of heritage
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.
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).
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions
The World Heritage Committee recommends States Parties to consider measures in order to address ways to respect the cultural and spiritual values and practices, and sustain the spiritual associations at World Heritage properties (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation). <![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]>
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> See for example Decisions 38 COM 7B.53 , 40 COM 7B.89 , 41 COM 7B.96 .