Why Are World Heritage Sites Important?

Buddha statue and Wat Mahathat Temple in the precinct of Sukhothai Historical Park, Wat Mahathat Temple is UNESCO World Heritage Site, Thailand.

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Buddha statue and wat mahathat temple in the precinct of sukhothai historical park
Buddha statue and Wat Mahathat Temple in the precinct of Sukhothai Historical Park, Wat Mahathat Temple is UNESCO World Heritage Site, Thailand.

Why Are World Heritage Sites Important?

World Heritage Sites are designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), an agency of the United Nations. They have been selected to protect important cultural and natural sites for their importance to humanity.

They are a representation of what is significant in our world, providing insight into how we view and interact with our environment. They are imbued with meaning because they are meaningful to a wide range of people. They offer a great way for people to engage in the preservation of nature and culture, as well as being educational.

They provide the opportunity for humans to learn about the importance of respecting the environment, the importance of conserving resources, and how we use nature in a positive manner.

World heritage sites also provide information about environmental sustainability, environmental concepts such as eutrophication, global warming and sustainable development. They are a way to promote conservation, education and sustainability on a global scale.

World Heritage Sites have inspired millions of people to visit and engage in the tourism industry. People travel from all over the world to see the sites, which helps to create jobs in the tourism industry and generates money for local economies.

Many countries are looking towards their natural resources as a source for sustainable economic growth, which makes World Heritage Sites extremely important for future generations.

With the destruction of many World Heritage Sites, people have become more aware of the importance that they hold. The pressure to preserve and protect sites is increasing worldwide.

This awareness has led to a number of treaties being implemented, particularly those dealing with water pollution and ocean pollution, as well as documentation of different species such as animal and plant species.
Fourteen natural properties, eight cultural properties and one mixed (natural/cultural) property have been added to the list so far in 2018.

The following is a list of the sites in 2018, as well as the countries or regional organization that nominated them for designation. As this is a list of World Heritage Sites, and not just sites included on the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger, they are included here.

Cultural and natural properties can be nominated by any country that meets the criteria. Some countries have more than one property on their list. In such cases, they have been listed under both groups with differing locations.

The states of the United States, Canada, and the European Union have not yet agreed on a common position relating to World Heritage Sites. A number of regional groups are taking actions that are inconsistent with the recommendations contained in the Venice Declaration. The most notable examples include the Caribbean States (CARICOM), Central America (UNESCOCA), Europe, Island Councils and UNESCO itself. The most recent example took place in 2016, where the Caribbean States (CARICOM) established the Caribbean Marine Renewable Resources Authority (CMRRA), which is designed to assist CARICOM Member States with the implementation of their World Heritage Convention commitments.

The European Union has designated numerous sites, including:

The World Heritage Convention does not specify any penalties for states that violate the Convention, but it does include a political commitment to work together to resolve issues with international agreements. The European Union, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom, are signatories to the Convention.

The following states have been verified as parties to the Convention:

Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Botswana Burkina Faso, Cameroon Congo (Democratic Republic of the), Costa Rica Cuba Dominican Republic East Timor (Timor-Leste), France Germany Ghana Gibraltar Grenada Guatemala Haiti India Isle of Man Israel Jamaica Japan Kiribati Korea (North) Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Mayotte Mexico Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Nauru Netherlands New Zealand.

Niger, Nigeria Pakistan Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Portugal Republic of the Congo Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore South Africa Sri Lanka Suriname Swaziland Tanzania The Bahamas Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tuvalu Uganda United Kingdom United States Uruguay Vanuatu Zambia Zimbabwe

In some cases, a designation can lead to restrictions on what changes can be made to the site. Some of these restrictions are voluntary or can be reversed, while others are mandatory, such as those relating to military bases.

A World Heritage Site can be removed from the World Heritage List and other sites added in its place. There is no penalty for removing a site from the list and there is no requirement to inform other signatories that the site will be removed. The revocation of a site designation is a decision made by the committee that first listed the site on the list, which means that they can decide to revoke it at any time.


Anthony, passionate blogger and aspiring author, is a freelance writer with a background in Marketing and Communications. As a traveler and explorer of the world, Anthony's favorite stories take him to places like Ireland, Tanzania, Thailand. He blogs about his travels as well as other topics that interest him.

Anthony strives to make a positive impact on society through storytelling and hopes that his work will help people connect with one another more easily through empathy.

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