Policies and advice notes

IUCN has developed positions and advice notes on issues related to natural World Heritage sites. IUCN works to provide guidance while outlining its position on key issues affecting natural World Heritage sites, such as extractives, logging and large infrastructures, and seeking sustainable solutions.


Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

The statement, “World Heritage and the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework”, aims to support those involved in discussions on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework to better understand the unique contribution of World Heritage to biodiversity conservation. It provides key messages on the relevance of the World Heritage Convention, and how it can be harnessed to support global biodiversity targets post 2020. A set of recommendations is included to help decision-makers integrate specific wording on World Heritage into the framework.

The group of experts who developed the statement identified the elements that can have the most impact on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.


Agenda for World Heritage over the next decade

The sixth IUCN World Parks Congress, IUCN’s landmark global forum on protected areas taking place every 10 years, was organised from 12 to 19 November 2014 in Sydney, Australia. Recognising the global importance of the World Heritage Convention as a rigorous intergovernmental conservation instrument, World Heritage was one of the four cross-cutting themes during this once-in-a-decade event that attracted over 6,000 participants from over 170 countries.

As part of the Promise of Sydney, the flagship outcome document of the Sydney Congress, six recommendations are proposed to guide the World Heritage Convention towards an enhanced role over the next decade.

IUCN Resolutions

IUCN Members come together every four years at the World Conservation Congress to take joint decisions on the global conservation agenda. In 2012, they adopted two Resolutions in an effort to redefine priorities for IUCN’s work on World Heritage.

These Resolutions remain the cornerstone of the IUCN World Heritage Programme:


Advice notes

Mining, oil and gas

IUCN’s position is that mineral and oil and gas exploration and exploitation (including associated infrastructure and activities) is incompatible with the Outstanding Universal Value of World Heritage Sites and should not be permitted within these sites. If it is outside the boundaries of World Heritage sites, it should not, under any circumstances, have negative impacts on their Outstanding Universal Value. The advice note below aims to provide guidance on IUCN's position.

Additional resource: WWF (2015) Safeguarding Outstanding Natural Value

Communities and rights

Addressing community and rights concerns requires long-term processes rather than quick fixes. Throughout its 50-year history, work on communities and rights in the World Heritage context has gradually taken on more importance and received explicit attention.

Rights-based approaches

The Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Convention - IUCN, ICOMOS and ICCROM - are collaborating to increase understanding and identify effective approaches to the rights dimension in World Heritage work. The goal is to promote the application of “good practice” in relation to human rights and World Heritage, and to develop possible tools to ensure rights issues are appropriately considered, particularly in the nomination and state of conservation processes.