The IUCN World Heritage Panel met last week to evaluate site nominations proposed for the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2019. Proposals for seven new natural heritage sites and one ‘mixed’ natural-cultural site have been submitted by state parties, as well as one extension of an existing mixed site.
IUCN, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, will make recommendations to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee on whether these sites should be inscribed or not. The Committee will consider IUCN’s advice and take final decisions during its annual session, which will take place in Azerbaijan from 30 June to 10 July 2019.
IUCN is the official advisor on nature under the World Heritage Convention and evaluates all nominations where nature conservation values are proposed for recognition.
Nominations of natural sites to the World Heritage List in 2019
- Albania, Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region (extension of Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) (mixed site)
- Brazil, Paraty Culture and Biodiversity (mixed site)
- China, Migratory Bird Sanctuaries along the Coast of Yellow Sea-Bohai, Gulf of China (Phase I)
- France, Terres et mers australes françaises
- Iceland, Vatnajökull National Park - dynamic nature of fire and ice
- Islamic Republic of Iran, Hyrcanian Forests
- Italy, Sila Forests Ecosystems (new submission following withdrawal by State Party in 2017)
- Monaco-France-Italy, Alpi del Mediterraneo - Alpes de la Méditerranée
- Turkey, Kızılırmak Delta Wetland and Bird Sanctuary
IUCN’s evaluations of nominations are part of a rigorous process where a wide range of information is reviewed. IUCN’s World Heritage Panel is an essential part of this process, ensuring the highest quality of independent advice.
The process for the evaluation of nominations involves field missions and desk reviews, as well as consultation at the international, regional and local level. IUCN consults widely with experts who have relevant knowledge of the sites or the natural values they represent. Nominations of mixed natural and cultural sites are evaluated jointly with the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), an advisory body on culture.
Nominations are proposed for inscription on the World Heritage List by States parties which have ratified the 1972 World Heritage Convention – a unique conservation instrument protecting natural and cultural heritage considered to be of ‘outstanding universal value’.
Following the Panel’s meeting last week, IUCN will gather more information on a number of the sites proposed for listing in 2019. IUCN’s recommendations will be released publicly by UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre six to four weeks before to the Committee meeting (the two releases are expected on 20 May and 3 June).
The IUCN World Heritage Panel is composed of 10 senior specialists in fields relevant to World Heritage, with experience regionally and on the ground. Their collective expertise, together with the knowledge provided by independent field evaluators, covers all major technical aspects of a nomination’s evaluation. The panel also provides technical and scientific advice to IUCN on its work on World Heritage.