The Next 50
World Heritage as a source of resilience,
humanity and innovation
One World Heritage Site
Migratory Bird Sanctuaries along the Coast of Yellow Sea-Bohai Gulf of China (Phase I)
The Convention Timeline
Adoption of the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, a unique international treaty linking for the first time the concepts of nature conservation and preservation of cultural properties – recognizing the way people interact with nature, and the fundamental need to preserve the balance between the two. The Convention was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972.
The World Heritage Convention formally takes effect upon ratification by the first 20 States Parties. The List of World Heritage in Danger is created to draw attention to properties needing special international consideration and priority assistance. The World Heritage Fund is established to assist States Parties identify, preserve and promote World Heritage sites through both compulsory and voluntary contributions.
The World Heritage Committee develops selection criteria for inscribing properties on the World Heritage List, and draws up Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, setting out among other principles those of monitoring and reporting for properties on the List. Ecuador''s Galápagos Islands becomes the first of twelve sites to be inscribed on the World Heritage List.
With 377 sites inscribed in the first twenty years of the Convention, the World Heritage Centre is established to oversee the day-to-day management of the Convention. A new category of sites is added, making the Convention the first legal instrument to recognize and protect cultural landscapes.
The Committee adopts the Global Strategy for a Balanced, Representative and Credible World Heritage List, aimed at addressing the imbalances on the List between regions of the world, and the types of monuments and periods represented. The Strategy marks the progression from a monumental vision of heritage to a much more people-oriented, multifunctional and global vision of World Heritage. The Nara Document on Authenticity is adopted, recognizing the specific nature of heritage values within each cultural context.
The World Heritage Committee adds a fifth 'C' – Community – to its Strategic Objectives, highlighting the important role of local communities in preserving World Heritage.
The Okavango Delta in Botswana is the 1,000th site inscribed on the World Heritage List. This delta comprises permanent marshlands and seasonally flooded plains, and is home to some of the world’s most endangered species of large mammal, such as the cheetah, white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, African wild dog and lion.
The “Warsaw Recommendation on Recovery and Reconstruction of Cultural Heritage” was developed at the ‘International conference on reconstruction: The challenges of World Heritage recovery’ held in Warsaw, Poland, from 6 to 8 May. These are universal guidelines for the recovery and reconstruction of World Heritage properties following armed conflict or disasters caused by natural hazards, notably for historic urban areas.
A year of activities, including events, conferences, workshops, exhibits and a targeted communication campaign, celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the adoption of the World Heritage Convention...
Read the stories of Site Managers
the digital transformation
Take a virtual trip to World Heritage sites around the world through the online exhibits produced in UNESCO's collaboration with Google Arts & Culture.
Passing on the knowledge
The creation process of World Heritage is remembered by historians and experts in the oral archive project.
for The Next 50
Call for Articles
Submit your proposal for an original article in the key thematic areas.
Our partners provide expertise, equipment, financing and more, to safeguard our common heritage for years to come.