Declaration Of World Heritage Sites By UNESCO


    In News: At present, India has 42 sites listed under the Tentative List which is a prerequisite condition for inscription as a World Heritage Site.

    • The Ministry of Culture revealed that, ‘Dholavira: A Harappan City’ has been submitted for nomination of a World Heritage Site in 2019-2020.
    • The Nomination dossiers of ‘Santiniketan, India’ and ‘Sacred Ensemble of Hoysalas’ have been submitted to UNESCO for the year 2021-22 cycle.


    • Augmentation of sites on the World Heritage List/Tentative List is a continuous process and sites are selected on the basis of their potential for fulfilling criteria under Operational Guidelines and demonstration of Outstanding Universal Value.
      • At present, India has 38 World Heritage Properties. All the sites under the Ministry are conserved as per ASI’s Conservation Policy and are in good shape.

    Image Courtesy- Maps of India

    What is the World Heritage List?

    • A World Heritage site is classified as a natural or man-made area or a structure that is of international importance, and a space which requires special protection.
    • These sites are officially recognised by the UN and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, also known as UNESCO.
    • UNESCO believes that the sites classified as World Heritage are important for humanity, and they hold cultural and physical significance.

    Selection criteria to be included on the World Heritage List

    • To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria.
    • Selection criteria
    • To represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;
    • To exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;
    • To bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;
    • To be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
    • To be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;
    • To be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria);

    United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

    • UNESCO was formed in 1945, is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris.
    • It works for achieving peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter.
    • It has 195 member states and ten associate members. India is a founding member of the Organisation.

    Role of UNESCO in context of World Heritage Sites

    • It seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.
    • This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972.
    • The most significant feature of the 1972 World Heritage Convention is that it links together the concepts of nature conservation and the preservation of cultural properties in a single document.
    •  The Convention recognizes the way in which people interact with nature, and the fundamental need to preserve the balance between the two.


    • UNESCO’s World Heritage mission is to
      • Encourage countries to sign the World Heritage Convention and to ensure the protection of their natural and cultural heritage;
      • Encourage States Parties to the Convention to nominate sites within their national territory for inclusion on the World Heritage List;
      • Encourage States Parties to establish management plans and set up reporting systems on the state of conservation of their World Heritage sites;
      • Help States Parties safeguard World Heritage properties by providing technical assistance and professional training;
      • Provide emergency assistance for World Heritage sites in immediate danger;
      • Support States Parties’ public awareness-building activities for World Heritage conservation;
      • Encourage participation of the local population in the preservation of their cultural and natural heritage;
      • Encourage international cooperation in the conservation of our world’s cultural and natural heritage.

    Steps Taken by India

    • Adopt Heritage Project
      • It was launched in 2017 as a collaborative effort by the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), State/UTs Governments.
      • It envisages the development and maintenance of tourist amenities at heritage sites and making them tourist-friendly.
      • The project primarily focuses on providing basic amenities that include cleanliness, public conveniences, safe drinking water, ease of access for tourists, signages, illumination, Wi-fi etc.
    • HRIDAY Scheme
      • The Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, launched the Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) scheme, with a focus on the holistic development of heritage cities.
      • The scheme aims to preserve and revitalise the soul of the heritage city to reflect the city’s unique character by encouraging an aesthetically appealing, accessible, informative & secured environment.
    • Role of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)
      • The  Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), as an attached office under the Department of Culture, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, is the premier organization for the archaeological research and protection of the cultural heritage of the nation.
      • It regulates all archaeological activities in the country as per the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958. It also regulates Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972.

    Source :PIB