The UNESCO World Heritage Centre has just announced the publication of a study entitled World Heritage: Challenges for the Millennium. Under the direction of Francesco Bandarin, director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, the publication provides an overview and analysis of more than three decades of implementation of the World Heritage Convention, highlighting a number of its successes as well as the challenges it has faced. The study includes a history of the 1972 Convention and its implementation, an analysis of the world’s natural and cultural diversity included in the World Heritage List, and a look at the state of conservation of World Heritage Sites. The collaboration of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, based in Montreal, Canada, has made it possible to include statistical data on many aspects of the Convention. The fruit of the collective efforts of many partners and specialists, this work was made possible by a grant from the Italian government.
In his forward to the study, UNESCO director-general Koïchiro Matsuura declares “In the sixty years since its foundation, UNESCO has developed a body of international standard-setting instruments for the safeguarding of the world’s creative diversity. UNESCO’s conventions, declarations and recommendations cover all aspects of tangible and intangible cultural heritage: from objects and museums to intellectual property, contemporary cultural expressions and living traditions. . . . Collectively these instruments form a network of legal tools designed to support Member States in their efforts to protect heritage and creativity in all regions of the world.” He also observed that “three of these instruments—the 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, and the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions—constitute a common foundation for the preservation and promotion of that essential component of sustainable development: cultural diversity.” This publication is available in English or French.