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Examining the status of our cultural and natural heritage

To mark the annual UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting that takes place 19 to 29 June in Paris, our June Focus takes a look behind the scenes at efforts underway to save the planet’s iconic natural and cultural sites. Safeguarding these places is an immense challenge and one that IUCN plays a major role in tackling.

> Read more
> IUCN's blog from the World Heritage Committee meeting
Tim Badman

What future for the World Heritage Convention?

Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California, Mexico

Mid-life crisis or life just beginning? The World Heritage Convention approaches 40, but its critics argue the time is ripe for it to retire. Have your say!

> Join the debate

Challenges and opportunities of the World Heritage Convention

IUCN Deputy Director General

IUCN Deputy Director General explains the role IUCN plays in the work of the World Heritage Convention and outlines some of the challenges that need to be addressed to improve its effectiveness.

> Watch interview

A promising future for Rio Platano

Arial view of dense forest cover in the Core Zone, Rio Platano.

Covering the entire basin of the Platano River, the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve is the biggest protected area in Honduras. Few areas in the world can compete with its natural wealth. But it is not just the diversity of species and ecosystems that makes Rio Platano so special.

> Read full story

Yellowstone: the return of the wolf

Grey Wolf (Canis lupus) 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species category: Least Concern

Many of us carry childhood memories of the ravening wolf that haunted us through fairy tales and often hearing a wolf's howl still send a shiver down our spine. But the successful reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park shows that they are an important part of the natural system.

> Watch video

A window on the world

Mariam Ali Kenza

Mariam Kenza Ali has a job that many people would envy. She is part of a global team trying to make sure that the planet’s most iconic natural sites are secure for future generations to enjoy.

> Read full story

Serenity on the Serengeti

A lion in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

It may be inconceivable that world-famous places like the Serengeti plain of Africa could be anything but secure. But like many other World Heritage sites, the very features which draw thousands of visitors each year are under pressure.

> Read full story

Staving off the threats to Cameroon’s natural riches

Forests of South East Cameroon

The Dja Reserve in Cameroon is home to some of the largest and best protected rainforest tracts in Africa, with 90% of its area intact. It was inscribed as a World Heritage site in 1987, but now faces several challenges, not least from mining.

> Read full story

Test your knowledge

Iguazu falls Are you a World Heritage whizz or a World Heritage wannabe? Find out by having a go at our quiz then challenge your friends! And if you are not on Facebook, use our website version.
> IUCN Facebook Quiz
> Website version


Wonders of the world

 Browse our selection of striking images from World Heritage sites around the world.
> Photo gallery


Facts and figures

Hot springs in Yellowstone National Park, USA 88 countries have an area designated as a natural or mixed World Heritage Site.
> More World Heritage facts.



Check here for selected publications about World Heritage, or search our catalogue.
> Selected Publications
> Search catalogue


Revival of the Arabian Oryx

Arabian Oryx, Qatar The good news and the bad news about the status of plants and animals revealed with the latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.
> Read full story


Social networking

Facebook and Twitter  Use #IUCNWHC in your tweets from the UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting, or write on our Facebook wall about this event!  
> IUCN on Twitter
> IUCN on Facebook


IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature © 2011

IUCN helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. It supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world and brings governments, non-government organizations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy, laws and best practice.

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Photo credits: Header banner © Carla Vaucher ; Tim Badman © IUCN; What future © Pedro Rosabal; IUCN Deputy Director © IUCN; Rio Platano © Tilman Jaeger; Wolf © Jean-Christophe Vié; Mariam Ali Kenza © IUCN; quiz © Carla Vaucher; wonders of the world © Pedro Rosabal; Facts and figures © David Sheppard; Arabian Oryx © Dena Cator ; Serengeti © Jim Thorsell; Cameroon © Agni Boedhihartono.