World Heritage Leadership

The most recent development in capacity building within the World Heritage framework is the creation of the World Heritage Leadership Programme. The Programme is a partnership between ICCROM, IUCN, and the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and the Environment, in collaboration with the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS. It aims to improve conservation and management practices for culture and nature through the work of the World Heritage Convention, as an integral component of the contribution of World Heritage Sites to sustainable development.

Taking a new and transformative approach, the programme will not focus exclusively on work within the World Heritage Convention, but rather will take a wider view of the totality of conservation practice. It will consider how working through World Heritage sites and the communities and specialists that support them, World Heritage can provide new and better leadership to achieve and inspire innovation, performance and excellence in practice.

The programme will take a fully integrated approach to nature and culture from the outset, focusing on:

  • Setting and testing the leading standards for conserving sites, and ensuring their contribution to communities and sustainable development through engaging in World Heritage
  • Providing high profile, widely translated documented advice on conservation policies and practices, notably by integrating the ICCROM-led Managing Cultural World Heritage manual and the IUCN-led Managing Natural World Heritage manual into integrated resource materials
  • Establishing a network of internationally recognized learning sites (including World Heritage Sites demonstrating leading practice) that can provide platforms for learning and capacity building
  • Building international networks between nature and culture practitioners and institutions that link on-ground practice with leadership at international, regional, national and local levels
  • Providing training events, exchanges, and other capacity-building activities to support the work of both site managers and stakeholders and national heritage services in diverse States Parties.

The programme is composed of five modules:

  • Effective Management: Nature, Culture, and Communities
  • Resilience
  • Impact Assessment
  • Learning Sites
  • Leadership Networks

The programme has conducted a mid-term evaluation focusing on: 

  • The current progress of the leadership programme towards its intended goals and objectives and the likelihood of achieving the overall targets by completion;  
  • suggest improvements and draw lessons learnt to date to inform thinking about leadership support.  

The Evaluation examined the progress of the programme on aspects of Relevance, Effectiveness, Impact, Efficiency and Sustainability. The Evaluation took place from March to July 2020, and was conducted by E.C.O Institute for Ecology. The results from the Evaluation and the Management response from the Programme can be found here:


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