Take advantage of the search to browse through the World Heritage Centre information.


Jane Robertson Vernhes

Oral Archives of the
World Heritage Convention

After completing a doctoral in applied ecology at the University of Paris, Jane Robertson Vernhes joined UNESCO’s Division of Ecological Sciences in 1980, first as a consultant, then as a regular staff member.

Working directly for Bernd von Droste, she was involved in the implementation of the natural component of the World Heritage Convention from 1980 to 1991. During this period, she verified nomination files, assisted in the organization of meetings of the World Heritage Committee and Bureau, and oversaw the administration of the World Heritage Fund. In parallel to these varied tasks, she also supported the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme. After Bernd von Droste left for the World Heritage Centre in 1992, she remained with the Division of Ecological Sciences the coordinator for the network of biosphere reserves. As such, she supported the interaction of natural World Heritage sites and biosphere reserves within an integrated system for the protection of natural resources. She contributed to the publication by Chape S., Spalding M., Jenkins M.D., The World’s Protected Areas: status, values and prospects in the 21st Century (UNEP-WCMC, 2008).

Interview with
Jane Robertson Vernhes
24 November 2009, Paris, France

The following audio excerpts are from an interview with Jane Robertson Vernhes by Christina Cameron and Mechtild Rössler the 24 November 2009 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. The capsules provide an enlightened perspective of the first decades of the Convention, returning to the original vision of elements such as the length of the World Heritage List, the concept of cultural landscapes and the List of World Heritage in Danger. Assessing the successes and failures of the Convention, she notably celebrates its great visibility but deplores its lack of financial resources.

  • 1. The World Heritage Convention
  • 1a. Involvement of Jane Robertson Vernhes in the World Heritage Convention
  • 1b. Length of the World Heritage List
  • 1c. Decisions determining the implementation of the Convention
  • 1d. Potential, successes and failures of the Convention
  • 2. World Heritage Committee
  • 3. Advisory bodies: IUCN
  • 4. Secretariat of UNESCO
  • 5. Emergence of the concept of cultural landscape
  • 6. List of World Heritage in Danger

Oral Archives of the
World Heritage Convention

Under the leadership of the Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage at the University of Montreal, an international team of researchers conducts interviews with pioneers of World Heritage to capture memories of important moments in the history of UNESCO Convention.

Launched in 2006, this initiative is part of the UNESCO History project that celebrated the 60th anniversary of the creation of UNESCO. The Oral Archives project records the precious witness of people closely associated with the creation and implementation of the Convention. Their recollections and views have greatly enriched the book by Christina Cameron and Mechtild Rössler, Many Voices, One Vision: The Early Years of the World Heritage Convention (Ashgate/Routledge, 2013).

Listen more Interviews

Keywords 1
Date Start: Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Date end: Tuesday, 24 November 2009