UNESCO UNESCO and World Heritage

UNESCO and World Heritage

The 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 193 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 2017 the World Heritage List comprised 1073 sites, of which 832 are cultural, 206 natural and 35 mixed.

France has 43 sites inscribed on the List (including the Grotte Chauvet – Pont d’Arc or the Taputapuātea cultural landscape in Polynesia 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.

Example of a cultural site : the pyramids of Giza, Egypt (M.Vernet)

Example of a natural site : the Grand Canyon National Park, United States (A.Lecavelle)

Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor, Republic of Montenegro (M.Sauvanot)

Tongariro National Park, New Zealand (F.Lenfant)

Loire Valley, France (C.Olive-Garcia)

Acropolis, Athens, Greece (C.Olive-Garcia)

Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Area, China (L.Yong Ning)

Gros Morne National Park, Canada (S.Baillon)

Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen-Itza, Mexico (M.Sauvanot)

Old City of Sana

Full list