Information about UNESCO World Heritages and Biosphere Reserves

UNESCO protects the world's cultural and natural heritage properties that have an exceptional universal value.

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The UNESCO World Heritage List comprises a total of 962 properties in 157 countries. Of these, 745 are listed as cultural monuments and 188 as natural monuments. A further 29 sites belong to both categories.

The properties selected for the World Heritage List are of outstanding universal value. They reflect the wealth and diversity of the Earth’s cultural and natural heritage. This international treaty is based on the revolutionary idea to entrust humanity with this heritage.

Biosphere Reserves are areas where sustainable developement is put into practice on a daily basis. Here, all people are committed to give equal consideration to environmental responsibilty, economic efficiency and social solidarity. A sustainable development is a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

The World Heritage List was launched after the Convention for the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention). The Convention was adopted on 16 November 1972 in Paris at the 17th General Conference of UNESCO and entered into force on 17 December 1975. Acutely endangered World Heritage properties are listed on a "red list".

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