UNESCO and World HeritageThe United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization was set up in 1945, immediately after World War II, with the aim of maintaining peace.
It operates on an international level in a number of areas (education, science, culture, communication, information), and its main objectives are to reduce poverty, to ensure a proper education for everyone, and to aid and encourage protection of the literary, artistic, monumental and cultural heritage.UNESCO initiated the World Heritage program with the specific objective of preserving places of universal value in order to pass them on to future generations.
The 191 States Parties who have signed the ‘Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage’, adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 1972, are committed to looking after and enhancing their natural and cultural heritage.
As of July 2015 the World Heritage List comprised 1031 sites, of which 802 are cultural, 197 natural and 32 mixed.
France has 41 sites inscribed on the List (including the Grotte Chauvet – Pont d’Arc or the climats of Burgundy more recently), making it one of the most represented States Parties.
However, there are disparities in the types of site inscribed on the List, with only 3 French natural sites, all of which are on islands – Reunion Island, the Lagoons of New Caledonia and the Gulf of Porto in Corsica.Thus the inscription of the Chaîne des Puys–Limagne fault site would be an important first for mainland France.