What is UNESCO?

UNESCO-Logo - Organisation der Vereinten  Nationen für Bildung, Wissenschaft und Kultur

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is one of 16 legally independent special organisations of the United Nations with its seat in Paris. UNESCO now has 193 member states. The aim of UNESCO is “to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science and culture“. (Article I of the UNESCO Constitution).

What is UNESCO World Heritage?

In 1972, UNESCO adopted the 'International Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage' (World Heritage Convention). Its mission is to preserve the cultural and natural heritage of humankind, which is of 'outstanding universal value'. It is the most significant tool ever created by the international community for the protection of its cultural and natural heritage.

What does the UNESCO label mean?

When a site is awarded the UNESCO label, the state concerned is committed to taking on the responsibility of protecting the cultural or natural heritage site. This duty also obliges the government concerned to guarantee independent funding for and the safeguarding of the site by ensuring its protection, preservation and use.

What is a buffer zone?

The sites cannot be viewed in isolation. Intrusions at a nearby location can also put a strain on the site concerned. Therefore, UNESCO demands the separation of a buffer zone, i.e. an area surrounding the actual world heritage site, which will together with the appropriate regulations ensure the effective protection of the cultural heritage itself.

Does the recognition as world cultural heritage have any bearing on the way the areas concerned are used?

The recognition as world cultural heritage has no bearing on the terms of protection and use. The protection of the sites is guaranteed by the existing nature conservation and heritage protection laws as well as by land-use planning regulations, which are predominantly the responsibility of the cantons involved. Within these regulations, it is also possible to carry out changes to the sites, provided they do not significantly compromise or even destroy the monument value.

Wer finaniziert UNESCO Welterbestätten?

Die UNESCO bezahlt weder Gelder an ausgewiesene Welterbe-Stätten noch an Kandidaturen. Sie vergibt lediglich das begehrte Label «UNESCO-Welterbe».

What is ICOMOS?

ICOMOS stands for «International Council on Monuments and Sites». It is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) with its seat in Paris and promotes the protection of historical and archaeological sites all over the world. ICOMOS is one of three Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Committee. Members of ICOMOS act as experts evaluating UNESCO world heritage candidatures and submit recommendations to the World Heritage Committee, which decides on the eligibility of the sites for inscription.