World Heritage

IUCN and World Heritage

IUCN has been involved in the World Heritage Convention from the start

IUCN’s World Heritage Programme implements initiatives to enhance the role of the World Heritage Convention in protecting the planet’s biodiversity, and to promote effective use of its mechanisms to strengthen the conservation and management of natural World Heritage sites.

IUCN was instrumental in founding the 1972 World Heritage Convention. It was at the 1966 IUCN General Assembly (which has now evolved into the IUCN World Conservation Congress) that the idea of a "World Heritage Trust" was first expressed on the international stage. IUCN went on to draft the Convention together with UNESCO and has since been explicitly recognised as the technical Advisory Body on nature to the World Heritage Committee.

To fulfil its role as Advisory Body, IUCN works closely with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. The IUCN World Heritage Programme is in close collaboration with IUCN’s networks of experts – including the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), the Species Survival Commission (SSC), and the Environmental Law Commission – as well as with IUCN’s Global Protected Areas Programme and World Heritage focal points in each of IUCN’s regional offices.

The Programme also works together with a wide variety of partners, including UNEP’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), the MAVA Foundation, the African World Heritage Fund, the Christensen Fund, the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), the German International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), and Our Place World Heritage Collection.

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