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 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.
The World Heritage List comprises over 1000 sites, of which 80% are cultural, and 20 % natural or mixed.
Of the 45 French sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List , 39 are cultural sites, 5 are natural, and 1 is mixed (both natural and cultural). The Chaîne des Puys-Limagne Fault is the first natural site to be inscribed in mainland France. The four other natural sites are all on islands: the Gulf of Porto, the Lagoons of New Caledonia, the Pitons, Cirques and Remparts of Reunion Island, and more recently the French Austral Lands and Seas.