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The World Heritage State of Conservation Information System – 5 Successful Years !

Tuesday, 5 December 2017
access_time 2 min read
Gough and Inaccessible Islands (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) © OUR PLACE The World Heritage Collection | Tui De Roy | Image Source: OUR PLACE

Five years ago, on 5 December 2012, the World Heritage State of Conservation Information System was publicly launched. This database offers a trove of reliable information on the state of conservation of natural and cultural World Heritage properties since 1979 and the threats they have faced in the past, or are currently facing.

The State of Conservation Information System currently proposes over 3.400 reports on 547 World Heritage properties located in 143 States Parties and with close to 1,000,000 pageviews, it has become and vital tool for World Heritage stakeholders and a major source of information for all interested in heritage conservation.

Fully aware that the wealth of reliable information produced within the framework of the World Heritage Convention Reactive Monitoring process was scattered and difficult to access for most of the World Heritage Convention stakeholders, in 2011 the World Heritage Centre designed an ambitious project to establish a comprehensive online information system. With the support of the Flemish government and the France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement, over a period of two years, the World Heritage Centre developed the State of Conservation Information System, and has been improving, enriching and updating its content ever since.

The Information System allows users to access, in one click, the numerous documents related to the state of conservation of specific properties (official state of conservation reports examined by the World Heritage Committee, reports prepared by the States Parties, mission reports, Committee decisions, International Assistance granted, etc.). It also comes with an advanced search function (per year, per property, per State Party, per Region, per type of threat, per category of heritage, etc.), which facilitates the extraction of the exact set of data required by the users and provides statistics and charts. 

Over time, the State of Conservation Information System has been enriched with explanations on the Reactive Monitoring process, maps, numerous tools and guidance (such as on impact assessments), relevant Resource Manuals and World Heritage Paper Series, heritage-related Recommendations, Strategy and Policy documents, as well as direct links to the World Heritage Centre’s partners (Advisory Bodies, other biodiversity-related conventions and agreements, etc.).

In addition to its primary purpose of monitoring the state of conservation of properties, the Information System also contributes to the institutional memory of the World Heritage Convention and to the transparency of the Reactive Monitoring process, and moreover, provides a reliable and effective tool for well-informed and consistent decision-making.