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World Heritage Site

Convention concerning the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage
Signed 16 November 1972
Location Paris, France
Effective 17 December 1975
Condition 20 ratifications
Ratifiers 192 (188 UN member states plus the Cook Islands, the Holy See, Niue, and Palestine)
Depositary Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Languages Arabic, English, French, Russian, and Spanish

A World Heritage Site is a landmark which has been officially recognized by the United Nations, specifically by UNESCO. Sites are selected on the basis of having cultural, historical, scientific or some other form of significance, and they are legally protected by international treaties. UNESCO regards these sites as being important to the collective interests of humanity.

More specifically, a World Heritage Site is an already classified landmark on the earth, which by way of being unique in some respect as a geographically and historically identifiable piece is of special cultural or physical significance (such as either due to hosting an ancient ruins or some historical structure, building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, or mountain) and symbolizes a remarkable footprint of extreme human endeavour often coupled with some act of indisputable accomplishment of humanity which then serves as a surviving evidence of its intellectual existence on the planet. And with an ignoble intent of its practical conservation for posterity, but which otherwise could be subject to inherent risk of endangerment from human or animal trespassing, owing to unmonitored/uncontrolled/unrestricted nature of access or threat by natural or accelerated extinction owing to local administrative negligence, hence it would have been listed and demarcated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to have been identified or recognised and officially christened and internationally elevated through multilateral declaration by UNESCO as a universally protected zone. The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 UNESCO member states which are elected by the General Assembly.

The programme catalogues, names, and conserves sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common culture and heritage of humanity. Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds from the World Heritage Fund. The program was founded 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, 192 states parties have ratified the convention, making it one of the most adhered to international instruments. Only Liechtenstein, Nauru, Somalia, Timor-Leste, and Tuvalu are not Parties to the Convention.


Zone/region Cultural Natural Mixed Total
Europe and North America 426 63 10 499
Asia and the Pacific 173 62 12 247
Latin America and the Caribbean 96 37 5 138
Africa 48 37 5 90
Arab States 73 5 3 81
Sub-total 816 204 35 1 055
less duplicates* 2 1 0 3
Total 814 203 35 1 052

(a) To commit any acts of hostility directed against the historic monuments, works of art or places of worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples;
(b) To use such objects in support of the military effort;
(c) To make such objects the object of reprisals."
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Wikipedia

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