What is a World Heritage Site?
World Heritage Sites are described by UNESCO as exceptional places of ‘outstanding universal value’ and ‘belonging to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located’.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to protect and preserve such sites through an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage
, drawn up in 1972.
Governments of countries which have ratified the Convention (States Party) identify and nominate such sites to the World Heritage Committee to be inscribed on a list maintained by UNESCO.
Read more about World Heritage sites.
Historic Scotland and World Heritage Sites
Scottish Ministers identify and put forward Sites to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport for nomination. They are also responsible for ensuring compliance with the UNESCO Convention in relation to Sites in Scotland. Focusing on cultural Sites, Historic Scotland carries out these roles on their behalf as part of our wider responsibility towards the historic environment. The Enterprise, Environment and Digital Directorate is responsible for natural Sites.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport acts as the State Party for the whole of the UK and is responsible for the UK's general compliance with the Convention.