World Heritage Convention, created in 1972, is one of the most important global conservation instruments and has almost universal adoption amongst the nations of the World. The Convention embodies a visionary idea - that some places of Outstanding Universal Value 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 these generations but for all those generations to come.
Advisory Body role
IUCN has a special role on World Heritage as Advisory Body, and also supports wider work on World Heritage through its members, commissions and partners. IUCN’s regional offices are the best placed actors to meet regional needs to strengthen natural World Heritage activities, and lead and develop activities that complement the official advisory body role of IUCN.
What is Natural Heritage?
Natural World Heritage Sites are globally recognized as the world’s most important natural areas
Protected areas like natural World Heritage Sites provide the most significant, front-line response to the global extinction crisis and cover 12% of the world’s surface. However, despite this critical role, these special places face many significant challenges, from direct degradation due to human pressures, lack of political support and sustainable finance, and the impacts of climate change.
The UNESCO World Heritage Convention provides a unique framework for securing the conservation of over 200 of the world’s most important natural areas, recognized as being of Outstanding Universal Value.
The identification of these Sites through the Convention is a direct response to the need to preserve and restore globally outstanding protected areas. The Convention provides a unique platform for developing and sharing best-practice, and can act as a barometer of global protected area performance.