World Heritage


IUCN evaluates all natural sites aspiring to achieve World Heritage status

World Heritage status is one of the highest international recognitions on the planet. As such, every site inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List is carefully selected following a rigorous process. IUCN evaluates all candidate sites nominated to the World Heritage List for their natural values, including sites known as 'mixed' that have both natural and cultural values.

The evaluation of nominations is a year-long process involving IUCN's large network of experts. To ensure the credibility of the World Heritage List, it assesses the global significance, management, and integrity of the nominated sites. 

IUCN's evaluations combine field missions, desk reviews and voluntary input by experts with knowledge of the sites or the natural values they represent. All the information collected is reviewed by IUCN's World Heritage Panel to form IUCN's recommendations to the World Heritage Committee.

If you would like to undertake a desk review or provide input for a particular World Heritage site nomination as an expert reviewer, please click here. 


A country signs the World Heritage Convention
The country compiles an inventory of potential sites, known as a Tentative List
The country prepares nomination files for candidate sites
IUCN evaluates natural and mixed candidate sites
IUCN advises the World Heritage Committee whether to inscribe or not inscribe a site, defer a decision, or refer a nomination back to the country
IUCN's recommendations are published six weeks before the annual World Heritage Committee meeting
The World Heritage Committee takes the final decision


Proposed nominations for 2020

For the 2019-2020 cycle, IUCN is evaluating the nominations below to make recommendations to the World Heritage Committee, which will take the final decisions at its annual meeting June-July 2020 in Fuzhou, China.

  • Ethiopia, Holqa Sof Umar: Natural and Cultural Heritage (Sof Umar: Caves of Mystery) (mixed site)
  • Georgia, Colchic Rainforests and Wetlands
  • Japan, Amami-Oshima Island, Tokunoshima Island, Northern part of Okinawa Island, and Iriomote Island
  • Korea (Republic of), Getbol, Korean tidal flat
  • Slovenia, Classical Karst
  • Thailand, Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex (deferred in 2019)
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