Monitoring World Heritage sites

Monitoring is key to safeguard the irreplaceable value of World Heritage. IUCN monitors the state of conservation of natural World Heritage sites to identify serious conservation issues as early as possible and bring these to the attention of the World Heritage Committee, which may request governments to take the necessary action. Learn more about how we monitor sites and how you can take part.


State of Conservation reports

Every year, IUCN prepares State of Conservation reports for about 60 World Heritage sites. These reports are based on information submitted by governments to UNESCO, scientific information collected by IUCN throughout the year including through field missions, as well as IUCN's network of experts.

Our reports are developed together with the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS (for sites with cultural values). They present key threats to the sites’ Outstanding Universal Value, and recommendations to the World Heritage Committee on how to address to those threats

On the basis of these monitoring reports, the World Heritage Committee may request governments to implement concrete conservation actions. Over the years, IUCN’s technical recommendations have informed multiple positive conservation efforts led by States Parties to the Convention.

The over 1700 reports to which IUCN contributed over the years are available on the website of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

Further down is explained how you can inform our monitoring work.

IUCN World Heritage Outlook

In addition to the monitoring work carried out under the World Heritage Convention, IUCN also regularly assesses all natural World Heritage sites through the World Heritage Outlook. Launched in 2014, it is the most comprehensive assessment of all natural World Heritage sites, giving snapshots of their conservation prospects and be used as a metric to track progress towards achieving better conservation outcomes. It is underpinned by the knowledge and expertise of hundreds of experts and organisations.

The World Heritage Outlook identifies global trends and rates the conservation outlook of each site. The IUCN World Heritage Outlook is not part of the collaboration with UNESCO, rather it aims to complement the monitoring mechanism as it is currently organized by the World Heritage Committee and UNESCO.

Conservation Outlook GaugePhoto: IUCN World Heritage Programme


List of World Heritage in Danger

Despite the progress achieved, World Heritage sites are increasingly faced with threats, such as climate change, extractive activities, large infrastructure projects, poaching and logging, invasive species, agricultural encroachment and armed conflict. Today 16 natural World Heritage sites are on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Danger listing aims to galvanize action and facilitate international support for severely threatened sites. IUCN may recommend that a site be placed on the Danger List if it faces 'ascertained' or 'potential' danger as defined by the World Heritage Committee.

Danger listing can be due to natural or human causes, for example: resource extraction (such as mining and illegal logging), inappropriate development (such as roads), poaching, agricultural encroachment, threats induced by armed conflict and war, earthquakes and other natural disasters, oil spills, inadequate management, and invasive species.

The World Heritage Committee may decide to remove a site from the Danger List once it meets the criteria set out in the “Desired State of Conservation for Removal from the List of World Heritage in Danger” and its natural values are restored.

More information about the Danger List and how it works in practice is explained on the UNESCO World Heritage Centre website.

How you can help our monitoring work

Contribute to the IUCN World Heritage Outlook

The IUCN World Heritage Outlook regularly assesses all listed natural World Heritage sites. You can help us improve it by sharing your knowledge of natural World Heritage sites.

  • Provide feedback on the accuracy of Conservation Outlook Assessments, either by leaving your comments on the website or emailing us
  • Register interest in participating in the next consultation process for the IUCN World Heritage Outlook consultation process, taking place in 2024 and 2025. To do so, download the dedicated consultation form (available in EnglishFrench, and Spanish) and email it to us.

Submit information on threats to natural World Heritage sites

Each year, IUCN prepares State of Conservation (SoC) reports for about 60 of the most threatened natural and mixed World Heritage sites in collaboration with UNESCO and ICOMOS. You can help us by submitting information on these sites. Download the IUCN World Heritage Soc Consultation Form and email it to All information submitted is strictly confidential.