The MAVA Foundation and IUCN have signed an agreement to continue their partnership on World Heritage through a new phase of work to be implemented over the next four years. The new project, ‘A Brighter Outlook for World Heritage’, supports the work of IUCN’s World Heritage Programme and builds on the 2010-2014 Agenda for Nature, which made possible key advancements in World Heritage conservation.
Since 2010, and with the catalytic support of the MAVA Foundation, IUCN has been changing how it works on World Heritage. It has increased its commitment and investment in World Heritage, and has established World Heritage as a key priority in its ‘One Programme’.
Key achievements stemming from the IUCN-MAVA partnership include analyses of biodiversity and marine gaps within the World Heritage List, regional capacity building to support World Heritage in Africa and greater engagement of IUCN Members to secure positive results from the World Heritage Convention.
Notably in 2014 IUCN launched the IUCN World Heritage Outlook, which is the first global assessment of natural World Heritage, thanks to funding by the MAVA Foundation. The new system consists of a website and a companion report assessing all 228 natural areas inscribed on the World Heritage List. Up to now, only about of half of these sites – those where problems have been identified – have been regularly monitored through the World Heritage Convention.
By assessing all listed natural sites, the IUCN World Heritage Outlook highlights good conservation practice – enabling replication of success across the World Heritage and protected areas network – and identifies sites where action is most needed to address major concerns.
Whilst IUCN's potential to make a difference is now clear, the pressures on World Heritage are growing. The IUCN World Heritage Outlook reveals that two-thirds of natural listed sites have a positive conservation outlook, while others face serious issues that are inadequately addressed. For the World Heritage Convention to be truly effective, all sites should not only have a good outlook but also demonstrate leadership as models of excellence and best practice.
A Brighter Outlook for World Heritage will enable IUCN to consolidate knowledge and trigger action to improve conservation prospects for all natural World Heritage sites. It will engage the partners needed to deliver this action, and showcase successful results to new constituencies and supporters.
It will focus in particular on levering across the unique union structure of IUCN, including through the new World Heritage Outlook. The project will deliver three results:
- Knowledge: IUCN knowledge on natural World Heritage is generated, consolidated, packaged and communicated to catalyse action to tackle conservation issues in currently listed and potential World Heritage Sites.
- Action: New, clearly defined partnerships embracing IUCN Members, networks and States Parties are built to support credible decision-making by the World Heritage Committee, and to support site-level action to improve the outlook for natural World Heritage on the ground.
- Showcasing results: Successful conservation results from the effective and equitable management of World Heritage sites are showcased in order to encourage further conservation action, and to promote the leadership role of World Heritage within the global network of protected areas as a whole.
The potential for World Heritage to promote and enhance nature conservation is growing. A Brighter Outlook for World Heritage will enable IUCN to build the knowledge base and trigger action required to improve conservation prospects for natural World Heritage Sites. It will engage the partners needed to deliver this action, and showcase successful results to new constituencies and supporters.
If you would like to know how you can become an IUCN partner on World Heritage, contact [email protected].