We support UNESCO in obtaining complete and accurate information about the situation of World Heritage sites. And we help local people to protect their sites and to derive an adequate benefit from them.
The sites that have been added to the list of World Cultural and Natural Heritage are the world’s most valuable monuments, the most significant historical cities, the most beautiful landscapes and the most breathtaking ecosystems and natural wonders. Because they are the most significant places on the planet to learn about people and nature, the community of nations has decided to protect them by binding international law.
However, a growing number of world heritage sites are endangered by development pressure, mass tourism, armed conflict, resource extraction, climate change, or construction activities, and by neglect and poor management. Recognition has grown that the more than 1000 UNESCO World Heritage Sites cannot be monitored and protected in the long run without the active involvement of civil society.
World Heritage Watch objectives are:
- To raise awareness of the importance of the UNESCO World Heritage;
- To strengthen the role of civil society under the UNESCO World Heritage Convention;
- To support UNESCO in protecting and safeguarding World Heritage properties.
World Heritage Watch
- Builds a network and a forum for the exchange of information and experience of its members;
- Supports local communities who work for their World Heritage sites;
- Submits to governments and UNESCO up-to-date and detailed information relevant for the preservation of World Heritage properties;
- Informs the public about developments of concern to the World Heritage sites.
Some countries do not have the capacities to maintain their properties; for them we want to organize help. Others show little interest in their protection; they will be reminded of their obligations to the world community. In many places citizens are committed to the preservation of their sites since they are part of their history and their immediate personal environment. Above all, it is them whom we want to strengthen in their struggle against ignorance, neglect and destruction. We are guided by the idea that no country can develop without cultural heritage and without an intact nature.
World Heritage Watch is building a global network of non-governmental organizations and local groups who are committed to “their” World Heritage site and notify us of dangers that threaten them. We give utmost attention to the reliability of our information and the technical quality of our work.
Our members and supporters
Members of World Heritage Watch are local people, UNESCO Clubs, academic and informal initiatives which are based in or near World Heritage properties; national and international NGOs working for World Heritage sites; indigenous groups, and committed individuals.
Independence is our top priority. Officials of state or international bodies who are involved in decisions about World Heritage properties cannot be members of World Heritage Watch. We do not accept donations and grants that may compromise our independence.
Many of the people who work for the world heritage live near remote nature reserves, in developing countries or in unfree situations. Often they do not have the possibilty to make themselves heard. It is their voices that we want to strengthen in the public, with UNESCO, and with their governments.
The UNESCO World Heritage sites are not only the heritage of one nation or state. As heritage of all mankind, they are the nuclei of a world civilization. We are all called to maintain their integrity and pass them on to future generations. This is the task to which World Heritage Watch is committed.