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

3.5.1    Buildings and development

The physical footprint in relatively localized areas including:

Housing (For example: Urban high rise/urban sprawl, Encroachment/changes to skyline, etc). Commercial development (For example: Skyscrapers, Large shopping malls, Encroachment/changes to skyline etc). Industrial areas (For example: Individual factories, Industrial areas/parks, Encroachment/changes to skyline etc). Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure (For example: Major accommodation and associated infrastructure (hotels, restaurants, golf courses, ski resorts, etc, Major/permanent high cost tourism facilities (pontoons, jetties, observatories, cable cars , chalets, fully serviced camping areas, etc). Interpretative and visitation facilities (For example: Visitor interpretive facilities (visitor centre, site museum, etc), Signage etc, Trail hardening (trail markers etc), Information booths etc, Minor picnic facilities, Minor camping areas, Moorings/marker buoys.

Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape

“The dynamic nature of living cities [must be recognized]. However, (…) rapid and frequently uncontrolled development is transforming urban areas and their settings, which may cause fragmentation and deterioration to urban heritage with deep impacts on community values, throughout the world”.


“In order to support the protection of natural and cultural heritage, emphasis needs to be put on the integration of historic urban area conservation, management and planning strategies into local development processes and urban planning, such as, contemporary architecture and infrastructure development, for which the application of a landscape approach would help maintain urban identity”.

22. “Conservation of the urban heritage should be integrated into general policy planning and practices and those related to the broader urban context. Policies should provide mechanisms for balancing conservation and sustainability in the short and long terms. Special emphasis should be placed on the harmonious, integration of contemporary interventions into the historic urban fabric. In particular, the responsibilities of the different stakeholders are the following:

(a) Member States should integrate urban heritage conservation strategies into national development policies and agendas according to the historic urban landscape approach. Within this framework, local authorities should prepare urban development plans taking into account the area’s values, including the landscape and other heritage values, and features associated therewith;

(b) Public and private stakeholders should cooperate, inter alia, through partnerships to ensure the successful application of the historic urban landscape approach;

(c) International organizations dealing with sustainable development processes should integrate the historic urban landscape approach into their strategies, plans and operations;

(d) National and international non-governmental organizations should participate in developing and disseminating tools and best practices for the implementation of the historic urban landscape approach”.

ANNEX I. List of documents and texts

Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL)