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World Heritage
Marine Programme

50 flagship marine protected areas of Outstanding Universal Value:
Beacons of Hope In a Changing Ocean

What we do

State of Conservation Reporting

We monitor and prepare evaluations on how countries protect their sites by conducting field visits and collecting scientific data
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Global network of site managers

We connect daily managers from the 50 flagship marine protected areas to share conservation solutions and accelerate successful results
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Climate change adaptation

We assess climate change impacts on marine World Heritage and invest in building resilience at the site level
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World Heritage
in the High Seas

We explore how the 1972 World Heritage Convention could protect places of Outstanding Universal Value beyond national jurisdiction
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Where we work

Since the inscription of the first marine site on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1981, our network has grown in to a global collection of unique ocean places stretching from the tropics to the poles. Today, the List includes 50 unique ocean places across 37 countries – recognized for their unique marine biodiversity, singular ecosystem, unique geological processes or incomparable beauty.

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Marine World Heritage Highlights

Protecting UNESCO marine World Heritage through scientific research

From 7 to 30 October 2020, the photo exhibition 'Protecting UNESCO marine World Heritage through scientific research' highlights how local experts are spearheading scientific innovation. Through four scientific research missions carried out by Monaco Explorations, the exhibition illustrates how scientific research has become crucial for the sustainable conservation of the world’s most treasured places.

World’s flagship marine protected areas gather in milestone conference 

From 4 to 9 September, managers from the 50 marine sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List gathered in the momentous setting of the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve to discuss challenges and solutions toward reaching the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.  

Building climate adaptation in 5 initial marine World Heritage sites

In October 2018, a 4-year, USD$9 million initiative was launched to build climate resilience leadership in an initial five marine World Heritage sites, including Rock Islands Southern Lagoon (Palau), Lagoons of New Caledonia (France), Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Belize), Ningaloo Coast and the Great Barrier Reef (Australia).

Strengthening marine Word Heritage conservation in Africa

In October 2018, marine World Heritage managers from the Africa and Arab region started sharing expertise in balancing conservation with the reduction of poverty among local communities. A first meeting was held in Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National Park in Sudan with representatives from iSimangaliso Wetland Park in South Africa and Banc d’Arguin National Park in Mauritania.


Our Mandate:

English | French 

Annual Activity

2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 
2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011


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World Heritage community.

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UNESCO’s World Heritage Marine Programme

Images of the video in chronological order: ©Martial Dosdane - province sud; ©UNESCO/Daniel Correia; ©Brian Sullivan; ©Erick Higuera; ©Ministry of Trade, Sudan Government; ©Mary Bomford; B Navez Public Domain; ©Mary Bomford; Nikita Ovsayanikov/Wild Russia/Public Domain; ©James Watt/Seapics; ©UNESCO/Mark Kelley; ©FAICO; ©Brian Sullivan; ©UNESCO/Daniel Correia; ©Ministry of Trade, Sudan Government; ©UNESCO/Andreas Kruger; ©KfW Stiftung / Stefan Daub; ©UNESCO/Daniel Correia;© @mdf; ©UNESCO/Daniel Correia;

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