Danger listing is a constructive tool to facilitate emergency conservation action and international assistance to support severely threatened sites
IUCN may recommend that a site be placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (or Danger List) if it faces 'ascertained' or 'potential' danger as defined in paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines to the Convention.
Danger listing can be due to natural or human causes, for example: resource extraction (such as mining and illegal logging), inappropriate development (such as roads), poaching, agricultural encroachment, threats induced by armed conflict and war, earthquakes and other natural disasters, oil spills, inadequate management, and invasive species.
The World Heritage Committee may decide to remove a site from the Danger List once it meets the criteria set out in the “Desired State of Conservation for Removal from the the List of World Heritage in Danger” and its natural values are restored.
The natural and mixed World Heritage sites currently inscribed on the Danger List can be accessed through the UNESCO World Heritage Centre website.
The Operational Guidelines to the World Heritage Convention provide definitions of ascertained and potential danger:
a) ASCERTAINED DANGER - The property is faced with specific and proven imminent danger, such as:
i) A serious decline in the population of the endangered species or the other species of outstanding universal value for which the property was legally established to protect, either by natural factors such as disease or by man-made factors such as poaching;
ii) Severe deterioration of the natural beauty or scientific value of the property, as by human settlement, construction of reservoirs which flood important parts of the property, industrial and agricultural development including use of pesticides and fertilizers, major public works, mining, pollution, logging, firewood collection, etc;
iii) Human encroachment on boundaries or in upstream areas which threaten the integrity of the property;
b) POTENTIAL DANGER - The property is faced with major threats which could have deleterious effects on its inherent characteristics. Such threats are, for example:
i) a modification of the legal protective status of the area;
ii) planned resettlement or development projects within the property or so situated that the impacts threaten the property;
iii) outbreak or threat of armed conflict;
iv) the management plan or management system is lacking or inadequate, or not fully implemented.
v) threatening effects of climatic, geological or other environmental factors.