World Heritage Convention

The World Heritage Convention is one of the most important global conservation instruments.

Created in 1972, the primary mission of the Convention is to identify and protect the world's natural and cultural heritage considered to be of Outstanding Universal Value.

It embodies a visionary idea – that some places are so important that their protection is not only the responsibility of a single nation, but is also the duty of the international community as a whole; and not only for this generation, but for all those to come.

IUCN co-drafted the World Heritage Convention text with UNESCO in 1972 and is explicitly recognised within the Convention as the technical Advisory Body on nature to the World Heritage Committee.

Its role under the Convention is threefold:

  • IUCN evaluates all natural and 'mixed' sites nominated for World Heritage status, and contributes to evaluations of certain cultural landscapes.
  • IUCN monitors the state of conservation of existing World Heritage sites.
  • IUCN contributes to capacity building, training and related initiatives, particularly at regional and field levels.