World Heritage

IUCN World Heritage Panel

Photo: IUCN World Heritage Programme

The World Heritage Panel supports IUCN’s advisory role

The IUCN World Heritage Panel provides high-quality technical and scientific advice on World Heritage, and forms the official position of IUCN in its recommendations to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. The Panel is composed of 10 to 12 conservation experts who are specialised in fields relevant to the World Heritage process.

As the Advisory Body on natural World Heritage, IUCN is responsible for evaluating new sites nominated for inscription and for monitoring listed natural World Heritage sites. To ensure the highest quality of objective technical advice is provided, IUCN consults widely with experts who have relevant knowledge of the sites or the natural values they represent. The evaluation process is a rigorous, year-long process that involves field missions and desk reviews, as well as consultation at the international, regional and local level.  

The IUCN World Heritage Panel is responsible for producing the official advice of IUCN on all nominations to the World Heritage List, taking account of all of the different inputs. The Panel can recommend inscribing or not inscribing a site, deferring a decision, or referring a nomination back to the country. The Panel also provides advice when necessary on particularly sensitive State of Conservation reports, which constitute the core of the World Heritage Convention’s reactive monitoring.

Recommendations are agreed on once all the information has been reviewed. The Panel proceeds whenever possible through consensus, although if this cannot be reached a vote is taken. IUCN’s World Heritage Panel follows a code of conduct to avoid potential conflict of interest, ensuring advice remains independent and science-based.

Documents

To ensure transparency, the Panel’s list of members and terms of references, as well as guidelines and templates supporting the evaluation process, are publicly available. The evaluation procedure is also documented in Annex 6 of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention.

More information for expert reviewers can be found here.

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