World Heritage Convention adopted at the UNESCO General Conference in Paris, France, was a major convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. It was adopted in 1972 and implemented in 1975, for the conservation and preservation of heritage all around the world that has a global value and are essential for future generations.
India ratified the convention in 1977.
Also Read: Stockholm Conference (1972)
Aim of World Heritage Convention
World Heritage Convention came into force with an aim to establish cooperation among countries to understand the value of heritage all over the world and take proper measures for the conservation and protection of such valuable heritage all around the world important part for future generations.
About the World Heritage Convention
Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage came into force in 1975 with 194 countries as the parties, that nominate and promote locations and properties to be included in the World Heritage List with an agreement to protect the heritage in their sovereign territory.
A proper plan is laid out by the country on the steps taken to preserve the heritage and present a report periodically about the condition of heritage.
The member countries agree to,
- Draft a general policy to promote and protect the heritage while its inclusion in the life of the community.
- Parties should have proper Scientific, Technical, Legal, administrative and Financial measures in place for appropriate actions when needed, in the protection and conservation of the heritage.
- Parties must restrict any actions that might damage the heritage of other parties. directly or indirectly, and also help other parties in their work of conservation of heritage.
The Convention highlights the manner in which the human race interacts with nature and points out the need to have a balance between the two.
World Heritage Committee
World Heritage Committee was established to look after the affairs of the convention, supported by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and Secretariat.
The committee has three technical advisory bodies and they are,
- International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
- International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)
- International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM)
The committee meeting is held every year with 21 members elected by all the parties for a tenure of six years, who carry out functions such as,
- Decision on adding new properties/locations to the Heritage List.
- Implementation discussion of the plans.
- Provide international assistance for conservation work.
- Administer the World Heritage Fund.
World Heritage Fund was established in 1977 to fund in helping conservation work and can be accessed by the member parties only. This fund is raised from member parties and donations from governments, NGOs, Foundations etc.
World Heritage Sites
World Heritage Sites are the places of distinct feature and importance identified by the World Heritage Committee under the World Heritage Convention, and these sites are of extreme value and importance to humanity. It can be a building, monument, city, island, complex, etc.
What is the difference between Cultural Heritage and Natural Heritage?
- Monuments: Monumental sculpture, architectural work, paintings, caves, structure of archaeological importance and other monumental features that has any historical significance.
- Sites: Archeological sites and other human-developed sites with historical importance.
- Buildings: Buildings with architectural excellence, landscape feature and a unique design with historical importance.
- Features: Natural features with unique biological and physical features that are important from scientific and historical points of view.
- Formations: Natural formations from geological changes that allow/threaten life/species and are important from a scientific point of view.
Challenges of World Heritage Convention
The main challenge in the World Heritage Convention is the scientific accuracy of the research and equal fund distribution to all for the conservation of the heritage.
Research and analysis of any heritage should be done collectively and should not be based only on the host party, as many factors affect the development and conservation work due to local issues that might affect the scientific study.
Funds should be distributed after due diligence and should be sufficient for conserving heritage.
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