• English TOP>
  • Towards World Cultural Heritage Inscription>
  • Criteria for World Heritage

Criteria for World Heritage

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. To be deemed a property of Outstanding Universal Value, it must also meet the conditions of integrity and authenticity and have an adequate protection and management system to ensure its safeguarding. * "Outstanding Universal Value" refers to distinctive cultural or natural meaning and value, to be shared by all human beings beyond the national borders and preserved and bequeathed to future generations.

Selection criteria:

represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;
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, townplanning or landscape design;
bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;
be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
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;
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);
contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;
be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth's history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features;
be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;
contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.


Depending on the type of cultural heritage, and its cultural context, properties may be understood to meet the conditions of authenticity if their cultural values (as recognized in the nomination criteria proposed) are truthfully and credibly expressed through a variety of attributes including:
  • form and design;
  • materials and substance;
  • use and function;
  • traditions, techniques and management systems;
  • location and setting;
  • language, and other forms of intangible heritage;
  • spirit and feeling; and
  • other internal and external factors.


Integrity is a measure of the wholeness and intactness of the natural and/or cultural heritage and its attributes. Examining the conditions of integrity, therefore requires assessing the extent to which the property:
  • includes all elements necessary to express its Outstanding Universal Value;
  • is of adequate size to ensure the complete representation of the features and processes which convey the property's significance;
  • suffers from adverse effects of development and/or neglect.

Protection and management

All properties inscribed on the World Heritage List must have adequate long-term legislative, regulatory, institutional and/or traditional protection and management to ensure their safeguarding. This protection should include adequately delineated boundaries. Similarly States Parties should demonstrate adequate protection at the national, regional, municipal, and/or traditional level for the nominated property. They should append appropriate texts to the nomination with a clear explanation of the way this protection operates to protect the property.
And therefore, wherever necessary for the proper protection of the property, an adequate buffer zone should be provided