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Immense outstanding universal value within the HKH

Leveraging the World Heritage Convention for conservation and recognition

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Visionary leaders in 1972 established the World Heritage Convention through a General Conference of UNESCO where parties to the convention agreed that certain places on Earth are of outstanding universal value and should therefore form part of the common heritage of humankind. Fifty years later, we are still leveraging this unique and powerful global mechanism for conservation in the HKH. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is a technical advisor to the World Heritage Committee on natural world heritage and with IUCN and our partner Wild Heritage, we researched and wrote a report that brings a focus to the HKH, supporting identification of potentials for new natural World Heritage sites in the region and for extending already-listed World Heritage sites to adjacent areas that belong together ecologically.

The HKH stands out globally for its exception natural values and diversity. Today, 17 World Heritage sites are listed in the region, including 10 for their natural values. Natural World Heritage sites are globally recognised for their ‘Outstanding Universal Value’, such as the scale of natural habitats, intactness of ecological processes, viability of populations of rare species, as well as exceptional natural beauty. Only a few sites gain this status following a long and rigorous process that does not guarantee inscription. The World Heritage Convention remains under-leveraged in the HKH region. Through this report, we have fostered international cooperation and promoted greater recognition of the region’s global significance under the World Heritage Convention.

Visionary leaders in 1972 established the World Heritage Convention through a General Conference of UNESCO where parties to the convention agreed that certain places on Earth are of outstanding universal value and should therefore form part of the common heritage of humankind. Fifty years later, we are still leveraging this unique and powerful global mechanism for conservation in the HKH.

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