Impact assessments

World Heritage sites have been facing increasing pressure from various forms of development in recent years, which can lead to severe damage to their unique values – sometimes irreversibly. UNESCO and the Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Committee, including IUCN, have issued guidance to help find the best possible solutions to meet both conservation priorities and development needs.

The aim of Environmental Impact Assessments is to equip decision-makers with the information necessary to preserve World Heritage sites for future generations. Effective integration of World Heritage sites in these processes is critical to ensuring that the potential adverse impacts of development proposals on a site’s Outstanding Universal Value, and alternatives to these proposals, are fully considered in decision-making.

Designed specifically for heritage management institutions, governments and project developers, the Guidance and Toolkit for Impact Assessment in a World Heritage context issued in 2022 highlights that impact assessments can actually help to identify better projects that yield more benefits in the long term, satisfying both conservation and development needs.

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