Threats to World Heritage Sites 1994-2004: an analysis

(2005) Threats to World Heritage Sites 1994-2004: an analysis. Technical Report. ICOMOS, Paris, France, 21p. [Book]

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Abstract (in English)

This paper presents the results of an analysis of threats to cultural and mixed World Heritage sites (WHSs) from information presented to the World Heritage Bureau and World Heritage (WH) Committee, and within ICOMOS Mission and Evaluation Reports, between 1994 and 2004. The analysis covers 1570 threats reported for 614 sites, (617 cultural and 24 mixed). These sites account for 29% of the total of all cultural and mixed sites. The analysis was carried out on a site by site basis and the sites were grouped into UNESCO Regions for analysis. The survey was initiated to substantiate whether developmental threats to these sites were increasing – as they were perceived to be. This trend was confirmed in four out of five Regions. It was most pronounced in Europe and North America where for the last 5 years of the survey there were developmental threats reported at 57 sites compared to 23 sites in the first six years. In Latin America the figures were 27 and 6; in Asia Pacific 33 and 20; and the Arab States 19 and 16. Only in Africa was the trend reversed: the numbers were 2 and 6. If the last two years are compared with the first six, the trend was even more pronounced: for Europe and North America 34 sites compared to 23 and for Latin America and 16 and 6. Overall for all Regions in 2004 there were 42 sites, more than double the 17 reported on in 2000. The other major finding of the analysis was that overall the two main threats with the highest percentages were management deficiencies and development. Failures in management taken as a whole form the largest threat in all Regions and all sites. 95% of sites in Africa are affected by management issues. 88% in Asia/ Pacific; 77% in Latin America; 77% in Arab States and 41% in Europe. 67% of Arab States are affected by development, 49% in Europe & North America; 47% in Latin /America; 40% in Asia Pacific and 42% in Africa. The other high figures are associated with major natural disasters. These particularly affect Latin America, 67%, and to a lesser extent Europe & North America, 26% and Africa, 21%. What might be called traditional threats: lack of conservation, threats to authenticity, environmental pressure, and over-visiting, by contrast, came out with quite low percentages. One clear lesson to come out of this analysis is the need to focus resources on promoting adequate management arrangements as these in turn could impact on the way development threats are countered. A second lesson is the need to ask for specific information in nomination documents on development pressures through the detailed documentation of proposed plans, and to press for a sustainable system of management to be in place for sites inscribed on the WH List. Thirdly risk preparedness could be a helpful instrument in dealing with natural disasters. Having established this database, it would be helpful to keep it up to date and to try and monitor over a longer period of time shifts in emphasis and changing trends. [Executive summary]

Item Type: Book (Technical Report)
Corporate Authors: ICOMOS
Languages: English
Keywords: cultural heritage at risk; statistical analysis; evaluations; development projects; management
Subjects: G.DETERIORATION > 02. Causes of deterioration
M.WORLD HERITAGE CONVENTION > 04. World Heritage in Danger
P. GEOGRAPHIC AREAS > 01. Americas
P. GEOGRAPHIC AREAS > 04. Asia and Pacific islands
National Committee: ICOMOS International
Number of Pages: 21
Depositing User: ICOMOS DocCentre
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2023 10:14
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2023 10:14

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