The World Heritage Convention is the only international legal instrument providing a unified framework for the conservation of cultural as well as natural heritage of outstanding universal value.
UNESCO’s World Heritage List includes national parks containing globally significant biodiversity (e.g. Serengeti National Park of Tanzania), scenic splendours (Mt. Everest or Sagarmatha National Park of Nepal), protected areas containing evidence of indigenous cultural history (Tasmanian Wilderness of Australia) and parks with important ruins and monuments of bygone civilizations (Tikal National Park of Guatemala).
The 172 natural and mixed sites included in the World Heritage List cover as much as 13% of the world’s protected areas. In some ecosystems, for example the tropical forests comprising globally significant biodiversity, World Heritage sites cover nearly 3% of the total global area-coverage.
Effective use of the World Heritage Convention to consolidate and build on regional, national and local conservation efforts is becoming more and more a tool for global conservation action to a growing range of stakeholders. They include:
- the 176 States Parties who have ratified the World Heritage Convention;
- UNESCO and its World Heritage Centre;
- The World Conservation Union (IUCN) and its large number of NGO membership;
- other advisory bodies to the Convention such as: the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM); and
- a growing range of institutional partners from the public, private and civil sectors.
This website is dedicated to highlighting the work, achievements, and benefits of the various partnerships working to conserve World Heritage parks and biodiversity; it will also be used as a tool to disseminate information on lessons learned and other outputs derived from numerous programmes and projects implemented with the help of such partnerships.