The 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage recognizes that certain places on Earth are of "outstanding universal value" and should form part of the common heritage of humankind.
Today, 190 countries adhere to the World Heritage Convention, as it is commonly known, and have become part of an international community united in a common mission to identify and safeguard our world’s most significant natural and cultural heritage. The World Heritage List currently comprises 962 sites (745 cultural, 188 natural, and 29 mixed) in 157 States Parties.
The Convention is unique in that it links together the concept of nature conservation and the preservation of cultural sites. Strongly emphasizing the role of local communities, the Convention serves as an effective tool in addressing climate change, rapid urbanization, mass tourism, sustainable socio-economic development and natural disasters and other contemporary challenges.