The OurWorldHeritage Initiative
“OurWorldHeritage aims to protect heritage, support knowledge based decision-making, promote good governance and engage civil society.”
The World Heritage Convention is at risk
World Heritage has for some 50 years served as a beacon of hope, protecting the wonders of our world for future generations. It was created with great foresight at the dawn of the modern conservation era.
Today however, this unifying instrument is straining under its success. With over 1,100 protected sites, conservation has taken second place to list-making. Properties and associated resources continue to deteriorate while global threats rise and politics override protection.
Civil society should play a bigger role in the implementation of the Convention
Civil society has so far played a minor role, both locally and globally, in the implementation of the World Heritage Convention. Unlike other cultural and natural heritage protection treaties, the Convention has limited the participation of civil society organizations, reducing the effectiveness of heritage protection policies.
Redefining the role of heritage in a multidimensional world
The World Heritage Convention needs to adapt to a multidimensional and multicultural world, by protecting heritage that reflects the diversity of societies and their needs, by fully respecting human rights and by embracing modern technology to foster transparency and participation.
OurWorldHeritage raises general awareness about the opportunities and threats that natural and cultural World Heritage sites encounter in the 21st century, precipitated by, among others, increasing development pressures, industrial and mining operations, climate change, unsustainable tourism and conflicts. The systematic involvement of civil society is elementary in finding sustainable solutions.
OurWorldHeritage will also be calling on the responsibilities of States Parties as well as of public and private actors to respect the spirit of the World Heritage Convention and stop politicization.
OurWorldHeritage promotes gender, regional and age balance in its activities and intends to foster the role of youth in all aspects of heritage management, as a way to promote the awareness of future generations on the importance of cultural and natural heritage for society and to ensure its long-term conservation.
OurWorldHeritage intends to reach this objectives through:
- Integrate effective participation and dialogue in World Heritage activities and ensure a balanced geo-cultural and bio-regional representation;
- Encourage and influence reform in World Heritage implementation processes and expand the role of civil society by improving accountability through transparent assessment practices;
- Mobilize civil society to take responsibility for the protection and conservation of World
- Reaffirm the credibility and representativity of the World Heritage Convention through informed and science-based decision-making for conservation and sustainable development;
- Inspire younger generations to take part in decision-making and to shape future conservation practices worldwide.