Agenda for World Heritage over the next decade
The sixth IUCN World Parks Congress, IUCN’s landmark global forum on protected areas taking place every 10 years, was organised from 12 to 19 November 2014 in Sydney, Australia. Recognising the global importance of the World Heritage Convention as a rigorous intergovernmental conservation instrument, World Heritage was one of the four cross-cutting themes during this once-in-a-decade event that attracted over 6,000 participants from over 170 countries.
As part of the Promise of Sydney, the flagship outcome document of the Sydney Congress, six recommendations are proposed to guide the World Heritage Convention towards an enhanced role over the next decade.
1 – Models of conservation
As a litmus test of the success of protected areas globally, World Heritage sites should serve as models of conservation and have a good outlook in the face of global change.
2 – Best of the best
To achieve a credible World Heritage Convention, only the very best natural areas should be inscribed to fill the few remaining gaps on the World Heritage List.
3 – Credibility
The credibility and integrity of the World Heritage Convention must be restored and retained, with the World Heritage Committee taking decisions driven by science and objectivity.
4 – Sustainable development
Civil society, local communities, indigenous peoples and religious groups should increase their engagement in the Convention, demonstrating that World Heritage contributes to sustainable development.
5 – Indigenous peoples rights
Global standards for indigenous peoples rights should be adopted and implemented in the World Heritage Convention, to ensure indigenous peoples are fully involved in World Heritage processes and site management, and that their rights are fully respected.
6 – Nature and culture interconnectedness
The World Heritage Convention should recognize indigenous peoples’ cultural values as universal, and develop methods for recognizing the interconnectedness of natural, cultural, social and spiritual significance of World Heritage sites.