This document is a partial export of the World Heritage Policy Compendium


1    General Policies Regarding the World Heritage Convention

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.

1.2    UNESCO standard-setting texts and synergies with other Conventions and Programmes

Policy for the Integration of a Sustainable Development Perspective into the Processes of the World Heritage Convention

28. “Sustainable development and the conservation of the world’s cultural and natural heritage are undermined by war, civil conflict and all forms of violence. The World Heritage Convention is an integral part of UNESCO’s established mandate to build bridges towards peace and security. It is therefore incumbent upon States Parties, in conformity also with provisions of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (The 1954 Hague Convention) and its two (1954 and 1999) Protocols, for the States that have ratified them, as well as in accordance with the UNESCO Declaration concerning the Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage (2003) and international customary law protecting cultural property in the event of armed conflict, to ensure that the implementation of the World Heritage Convention is used to promote the achievement and maintenance of peace and security between and within States Parties”.

29. “Recalling also the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (2001), States Parties should therefore acknowledge the reality of cultural diversity within and around many World Heritage properties, and promote a culturally pluralistic approach in strategies for their conservation and management. (…)”.

ANNEX I. List of documents and texts

Policy for the integration of a sustainable development perspective into the processes of the World Heritage Convention (WHC-15/20.GA/INF.13)