1 General Policies Regarding the World Heritage Convention
1.2 UNESCO standard-setting texts and synergies with other Conventions and Programmes
3 Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 Factors affecting properties
3.5.9 Other human activities
6 Policies Regarding COMMUNITIES
6.6 Fostering of peace and security
The World Heritage Convention, adopted in 1972, is a legally binding instrument providing an intergovernmental framework for international cooperation for the identification and conservation of the world's most outstanding natural and cultural properties.
The Convention sets out the duties of States Parties in identifying potential sites and their role in protecting and preserving them. By ratifying the Convention, each country enters in a system of international cooperation to protect the world cultural and natural heritage and pledges to conserve the World Heritage sites situated on its territory. The States Parties are encouraged to integrate the protection of cultural and natural heritage into regional planning programmes, set up staff and services at their sites, undertake scientific and technical conservation research and adopt measures that give this heritage a function in community day-to-day life.
The Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Committee are ICCROM (the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property), ICOMOS (the International Council on Monuments and Sites) and IUCN – the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The General Policies of the Convention theme includes policies related to the overarching framework of the Convention; the links with other standard-setting instruments, cooperation among States and implementation of the Convention at the national level.
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.
Illegal activities (For example: Illegal extraction of biological resources (i.e. poaching), Blast fishing, cyanide fishing, Illegal extraction of geological resources (mining/fossils), Illegal trade, Illegal occupation of space, Illegal excavations, Illegal construction, Looting, Theft, Treasure hunting, Ghost nets (discarded fishing gear). Deliberate destruction of heritage (For example: Vandalism, Graffiti, Politically motivated acts, Arson). Military training. War. Terrorism. Civil unrest.
One of the central objectives of the World Heritage Convention is to enhance the role of communities in the implementation of the Convention and to encourage the participation of the local population and different stakeholders in the preservation of their cultural and natural heritage. In addition, the Convention asks each State Party ‘to adopt a general policy which aims to give the cultural and natural heritage a function in the life of the community ’.
The theme of Communities includes policies related to the participation of local communities and other stakeholders, human rights and a rights-based approach, gender, indigenous peoples, youth, and fostering of peace and security.