- International co-operation
The concept of ‘world heritage’ was legally codified by the 1972 UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (WHC). This convention occupies a special position in the ever-expanding body of international cultural heritage law. This is for three fundamental reasons. First, with its 193 States Parties, it is a truly universal treaty in force for the protection of cultural heritage. Second, it represents a major innovation by its unprecedented approach that brings together cultural properties and natural sites of exceptional importance, both subject to the same system of international cooperation for their identification, delineation, and protection. Third, this convention has contributed to the reconceptualization of ‘cultural property’, paving the way for its dynamic evolution into the more comprehensive concept of ‘cultural heritage’, understood as the inherited patrimony of culture—inclusive of the intangible heritage and living culture of relevant human communities.
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