Nominating new World Heritage sites

Learn more about how IUCN evaluates nominations and which sites IUCN recommends for World Heritage Listing.

World Heritage status is one of the highest international recognitions on the planet. As such, every site inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List is carefully selected following a rigorous process. IUCN evaluates all candidate sites nominated to the World Heritage List for their natural values, including sites known as 'mixed' that have both natural and cultural values.

Proposed nominations for 2024

For the 2023-2024 cycle, IUCN has evaluated the below nominations and prepared its recommendation for the World Heritage Committee, which will take the final decisions at its 46th session in New Delhi, India (21-31 July 2024):

  • Brazil – Lençóis Maranhenses National Park                                                                                                      
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina – Vjetrenica Cave, Ravno
  • China – Badain Jaran Desert – Towers of Sand and Lakes
  • China – Migratory Bird Sanctuaries along the Coast of Yellow Sea-Bohai Gulf of China (Phase II)
  • Ethiopia - Melka Kunture and Balchit Archeological and Paleontological Site                                                   
  • France – Te Henua Enata - Les îles Marquises
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland - The Flow Country

IUCN also provided comments to the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the Advisory Body on cultural heritage, on the following Cultural Landscape nominations: 

  • Portugal – Levadas da Madeira
  • Russian Federation – Testament of Kenozero Lake
  • Saudi Arabia – The Cultural Landscape of Al-Faw Archaeological Area
  • Serbia – Bač Cultural Landscape
  • Thailand – The Phu Phrabat Historical Park

More information on upcoming nominations can be found on the website of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre

Earlier nomination evaluations

world heritage nominations



world heritage nominations



world heritage nominations



Evaluating nominations

The evaluation of nominations is a two-phase process, starting with the newly introduced Preliminary Assessment process as phase I. Preliminary Assessment is a year-long process in which IUCN provides advice directly to States Parties on potential nominated properties under natural criteria (please see our page here for more details). 

The second phase is a circa 15 month process involving IUCN’s international and diverse network of experts. To ensure the credibility of the World Heritage List, it assesses the global significance, management, and integrity of the nominated sites. 

IUCN's evaluations combine field missions, desk reviews and inputs from experts with knowledge of the sites or the natural values they represent. Throughout this process, IUCN draws on the expertise of our six specialist commissions and collaborates closely with the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) and the International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG). All the information collected is reviewed by IUCN's World Heritage Panel to form IUCN's recommendations to the World Heritage Committee.

Find out how you could help undertake a desk review or provide input for a particular World Heritage site nomination as an expert reviewer.

The Nominations Process

The Nominations Process includes three steps before a potential World Heritage inscription, starting with the creation and revision of Tentative Lists, followed by Preliminary Assessment (compulsory as of 2027) and the formal submission of a nomination dossier. More information on IUCN’s role in these processes can be found here, and on the World Heritage Centre's nominations page. The steps involved in the IUCN evaluation process of nominations in phase II can be seen below:

world heritage nominations

Thematic studies and gap analyses

Mobilising its wide network of experts, Members and partners, IUCN regularly conducts and updates thematic analyses to help States Parties and interested stakeholders assess the potential for nominating candidate sites to the World Heritage List. 

Thematic studies and gap analyses do not constitute IUCN's recommendations to the World Heritage Committee. Rather they offer guidance on enhancing the role of the World Heritage Convention in protecting globally significant natural areas on the World Heritage List.

Some publications below are translated into several languages. Click on the publications below to access translations on the IUCN online catalogue. The full overview of World Heritage Resources is available here