World Heritage Sites - why they're essential for the natural world

The phrase ‘World Heritage Site’ conjures up images of some of the world’s most beautiful places – sites considered to be of Outstanding Universal Value because of their natural or cultural significance. 

Iguaçu Falls, Brazil,  World Heritage Site Photo: Imène Meliane, 29 March 2006

Some 8 per cent of the world’s protected areas, including national parks, nature reserves and community conserved areas are World Heritage Sites.

IUCN provides advice on natural World Heritage Sites to UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee. Later this month delegates from IUCN will attend the Committee’s annual meeting in Brasilia. Nominations for new sites will be considered and the state of conservation of existing sites examined.

Tim Badman is IUCN’s Head of World Heritage. He explains the importance of World Heritage Sites, how they’re evaluated and how they help conserve biodiversity.


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