World Heritage Site

World Heritage Site is one which as an “Outstanding Universal Value”. As per the guidelines under the World Heritage Convention, Outstanding Universal Value signifies “cultural and/or natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity.”


  • Cultural Heritage.
  • Natural Heritage.
  • Mixed heritage (cultural as well as natural).

Of the 1121 World Heritage Sites in the world, 869 are cultural, 213 are natural, and 39 are mixed.

Cultural heritage underlines an Outstanding Universal Value from the point of view of history, art or science, and includes monuments, groups of buildings, and sites which are the combined work of nature and human agency.

Examples include Taj Mahal, the Statue of Liberty, and the Sydney Opera House.

Natural heritage refers to an Outstanding Universal Value from the point of view of science, conservation or natural beauty.

Examples include Sundarbans Natural Park and the Victoria Falls.

Selection of Sites

  • The sites are selected based on the deliberations of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee on the nominations received from the countries.
  • The committee which consists of 21 members selected from amongst 192 States Parties (signatories) of the 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage meets at least once every year, to deliberate the addition, removal, or modification of items on the list of World Heritage Sites.
  • The Indian National Commission for Co-operation with UNESCO (INCCU) and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) play a key role in sending the nominations from India.

Benefits of the Recognition

  • It provides the location with a coveted status. This usually drives up demand for travel and tourism from around the world.
  • The recognition also puts a heavy onus on the government of the country in which the Site is located for its conservation and upkeep as the Committee conducts regular audits at declared Sites, and can place a spot that is seriously threatened on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Since the UNESCO World Heritage Committee can delete the property from the World Heritage List If the Outstanding Universal Value of the property is destroyed, the governments will make extra efforts for upholding the heritage.


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