A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area which is selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as having cultural, historical, scientific or other form of significance, and is legally protected by international treaties. The sites are judged important to the collective interests of humanity.
- The Site must be an already classified landmark, unique in some respect as a geographically and historically identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance (such as an ancient ruin or historical structure, building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, mountain, or wilderness area).
- It may signify a remarkable accomplishment of humanity, and serve as evidence of our intellectual history on the planet.
- The sites are intended for practical conservation for posterity, which otherwise would be subject to risk from human or animal trespassing, unmonitored/uncontrolled/unrestricted access, or threat from local administrative negligence.
What UNESCO does?
- Sites will be demarcated by UNESCO as protected zones.
- The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Program administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 states parties which are elected by their General Assembly.
- Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds from the World Heritage Fund.
- The program began with the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage, which was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972.
- Since then, 193 state parties have ratified the convention, making it one of the most widely recognized international agreements and the world's most popular cultural program.
- As of July 2017, 1,073 sites are listed: 832 cultural, 206 natural, and 35 mixed properties, in 167 states. The Table of World Heritage Sites by country lists Italy as the home for the largest number of sites with 53, followed by China (52), Spain (46), France (43), Germany (42), India (36), Mexico (34) and United Kingdom and British Overseas Territories (31).
India’s World Heritage List:
- 36 Sites from India are inscribed on the World Heritage List which include 28 Cultural, 7 Natural and 1 Mixed category site.
- 7 Natural World Heritage sites are: Kaziranga national Park Assam, Keoladeo Ghana National Park Rajastan, Manas Wildlife Sanctuary Assam, Nanda Devi National Park and Valley of Flowers Uttarakhand, Sunderbans National Park West Bengal, Western Ghats, Great Himalayan National Park Himachal Pradesh