June 27, 2013

Essay on World Heritage

The essay is courtesy presented by essay writer (June 27, 2013) - World Heritage represents great places that have a special significance for humanity. These are areas which are an embodiment of beauty, mystery, grandeur and wonder. They may be natural treasures of the planet such as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and The Dolomites in Italy or man-made cultural marvels such as the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal in India, the Acropolis in Greece, the Grand Canyon in the USA and the Pyramids of Egypt.

It was in 1972 that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) established the World Heritage Convention with the aim to identify, protect and celebrate the world’s natural and outstanding cultural heritage sites. The sites that enter the World Heritage List are protected by law and are financially supported by the World Heritage Fund. World Heritage properties can get listed only if they are nominated by the State Party or the elected government of a country that is a member of the World Heritage Convention. However, the ultimate decision is taken by the World Heritage Committee, which comprises of 21 elected representatives of the State Parties, with its headquarters in Paris.

The Qualities of properties to get listed in the World Heritage List

In order to qualify for the World heritage List, the properties need to be of universal value, which means they have to be extraordinary and signify value beyond the national boundaries. In other words, they need to evoke a sense of awe and meaning to people all over the world, irrespective of where the site is located. Apart from its universal value, the property needs to meet the selection criteria set by UNESCO. For instance, a site that is identified for cultural heritage needs to represent a great human achievement, important stage in history or some significant living tradition. Similarly, a site that is nominated for natural heritage values needs to possess outstanding natural beauty, signify the various eras of the Earth or provide precious habitat for endangered species.

Some World Heritage Sites

There are 981 World Heritage properties that are inscribed in the World Heritage List. Some have been included for their cultural values, others as natural heritage sites and a few more for their cultural and natural heritage values. Contrary to popular sites such as Machu Pichu, Easer Island, Acropolis and Victoria Falls, the Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland (inscribed 1979) and Hiroshima Peace Memorial in Japan (inscribed 1996) represent the cruelty of human nature. At the same time these memorials signify courage and hope for harmony and peace on the planet.

Benefits of World Heritage Listing

When a place gets listed as a World Heritage property, it proves to be extremely beneficial not only for the country in which it is located, but also for the local population and the tourists. Some of the benefits include:

  • International recognition for the designated site that brings great national pride.
  • Greater tourist inflow from all over the world.
  • Increase in employment opportunities for the local communities.
  • Improved planning and infrastructural facilities in the area.


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The UN Foundation is a public charity created in 1998 with philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic gift of $1 billion to support UN causes. It is the world’s largest private supporter of World Heritage. Since 1999, the UN Foundation has contributed more than $40 million, and catalyzed an additional $150 million, in support of World Heritage conservation and sustainable development in the developing world.

World Heritage Centre at UNESCO

For more than 30 years, UNESCO and its partners have worked through the World Heritage Centre to identify, assess and protect places of outstanding universal value. To date, 184 countries have adhered to the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, making it one of the most universal international legal instruments for the protection of cultural and natural heritage. Whilst fully respecting the national sovereignty, the States Parties to the World Heritage Convention recognize that the protection of our World Heritage is the duty of the international community as a whole. There are currently 851 properties including 660 cultural, 166 natural and 25 mixed properties in 184 countries.

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