Sustainable Development at World Heritage Sites


For those those of you who are not aware, in November last year, at the General Assembly of the States Parties to the World Heritage Convention, a Policy on the integration of a sustainable development perspective into the processes of the World Heritage Convention was adopted.

This policy was the outcome of a protracted, but intense period of work undertaken by UNESCO, led by Giovanni Boccardi of the World Heritage Centre in Paris.  The work involved experts and practitioners from around the world, and drew on other conventions and their policies of a similar nature.

In essence, the Policy sets out how the world’s 1000+ World Heritage Sites can contribute towards sustainable development, in all of its dimensions.   How this will relate to managing Sites in practice is yet to be worked out, and I expect that  it will be a couple of years before guidance gets to Site level.  However, the principles of the policy are sound and it would be a useful document for all Site managers to have a look at, particularly those just starting to think about revising Management  Plans.

The document can be downloaded here. Please do feel free to share  your comments on the document here.

One thought on “Sustainable Development at World Heritage Sites

  1. I noted the inclusion of the World Heritage Committee position that notes that there are activities which will not be compatible with the conservation of Outstanding Universal Value saying “Extractive industries related to oil, gas and mineral resources .. present considerable challenges”. The policy referenced 37COM 7 (§8), which urges both States Parties to the Convention and leading industry stakeholders “to respect the “No-go” commitment by not permitting extractive activities within World Heritage properties” and make “every effort to ensure that extractives companies located in their territory cause no damage to World Heritage properties, in line with Article 6 of the Convention”.
    WWF/Aviva Investors/Investec Asset Management research in 2015 showed that almost a third of all natural World Heritage Sites globally are threatened by oil, gas and mining exploration.


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