The new IUCN World Heritage Outlook is released to the IUCN network today ahead of its official launch at the annual World Heritage Committee meeting next month. This innovative knowledge tool will provide for the first time assessments of all 222 sites inscribed on the World Heritage List for their natural Outstanding Universal Value.
Until now, less than half of all natural sites – those affected by serious conservation issues – were regularly tracked through joint monitoring reports by UNESCO and IUCN, in its role as advisory body on natural World Heritage. Worldheritageoutlook.iucn.org assesses all natural sites together for the first time according to their potential to maintain their values over time. You can now access the majority of these assessments ahead of the official launch on 16 June.
The result is a global outlook on the conservation status of natural World Heritage, which represents over 10% of the planet's total protected area. This is the first step towards recognizing the leadership role that World Heritage sites have in pioneering conservation success. The IUCN World Heritage Outlook brings visibility to well-managed sites and draws attention to the need for action to improve the conservation prospects of sites under threat.
Three elements are evaluated in each site to produce Conservation Outlook Assessments: World Heritage values, threats to these values, and the effectiveness of protection and management. Each site is classified into a rating: good, good with some concerns, significant concern and critical. Cases where insufficient information was found to reach a conclusion are classified as data deficient. The system is open for feedback and assessments will be revised if new information becomes available.
The website (www.worldheritageoutlook.iucn.org) features an interactive map and intuitive search filters, as an easy way to find valuable information. The conservation outlook of World Heritage sites can be searched by region, criteria of Outstanding Universal Value, rating, threat or benefit.
Additional search filters will be developed in time for the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia in November to allow sites to be searched by ecosystems and other international designations. The Congress will be a key opportunity to present a full global and regional analysis on the World Heritage Outlook.
The website is available in English, French and Spanish and, where possible, assessments will be translated into relevant local languages.
The IUCN World Heritage Outlook will be officially launched at the 38th meeting of the World Heritage Committee, taking place from 15 to 25 June in Doha, Qatar.