The UNESCO World Heritage Convention provides a unique framework for securing the conservation of over 200 of the world’s most important natural areas, recognized as being of Outstanding Universal Value.

The identification of these sites through the Convention is a direct response to the need to preserve and restore globally outstanding protected areas based on criteria that include scale of natural habitats, intactness of ecological processes, viability of populations of rare species, and rarity, notwithstanding aesthetic appeal which almost always accompany these natural wonders.

The Convention provides a unique platform for developing and sharing best-practice, and can act as a barometer of global protected area performance.

IUCN advises UNESCO on natural World Heritage sites.This means that IUCN: