The World Heritage Convention - What’s it about?
The World Heritage Convention aims to promote cooperation among nations to protect heritage around the world that is of such outstanding universal value that its conservation is important for current and future generations.
The World Heritage Convention was adopted by the UNESCO General Conference in 1972. Currently, 187 countries (known as “States Parties”) have ratified the Convention, including Ireland in 1991. The Convention established the World Heritage List as a means of identifying that some places, either natural or cultural, are of such significance as to be the responsibility of the international community as a whole. By signing up to the Convention, States Parties pledge to conserve not only the World Heritage Sites in their territory but also to avoid deliberate measures that could damage World Heritage Sites in other countries. As such, the World Heritage List serves as a heritage conservation tool.
The Convention is overseen by the World Heritage Committee, which is composed of 21 countries elected by the States Parties. The Committee is supported by UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre in Paris , which advises States Parties on the preparation of site nominations, organises technical assistance on request and coordinates reporting on the condition of sites. It also coordinates emergency action to protect threatened sites and administers the World Heritage Fund.