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The World Heritage Convention at 50: management, credibility and sustainable development

Labadi, Sophia (2022) The World Heritage Convention at 50: management, credibility and sustainable development. Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, . ISSN 2044-1266. (doi:10.1108/JCHMSD-05-2022-0077) (KAR id:96709)

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Language: English

DOI for this version: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.96709.3276318

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Purpose: The World Heritage Convention has reached a milestone and this year, in 2022, it is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The aim of this article is to review whether and how the goals of the Strategic Action Plan (SAP) for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (2012-2022) have been reached.

Methodology/approach: This article starts by considering the outcomes for three of the SAP goals, dealing with protection and management; the credibility of the World Heritage List; and sustainable development, using additional information from the final implementation report of the SAP (UNESCO, 2021a), which provides key performance indicators and the implementation status for each goal and associated outcomes. This articles then compares and contrasts available data, trends, and examples to provide more in-depth analyses of the implementation of the three goals. Data have been gathered from my own research and from the work of other academics and practitioners.

Findings: The article finds several key positive changes, including the recent revisions of the Operational Guidelines to include provisions from the 2015 Policy on World Heritage and Sustainable Development. However, a number of concerning or worsening trends relating to the protection and management of the World Heritage List, its increasing lack of credibility, and sustainable development make it difficult to conclude that the implementation of the goals has been positive. The article concludes with suggestions for addressing these issues.

Originality: This paper fills a gap, as not much has yet been published on the state of implementation of the Convention at 50 years old.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1108/JCHMSD-05-2022-0077
Additional information: This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact
Uncontrolled keywords: World Heritage, UNESCO; protection and management; credibility; sustainable development; community; human rights; critical heritage; evaluation; danger; climate change
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > Department of Classical and Archaeological Studies
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council (
Depositing User: Sophia Labadi
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2022 12:02 UTC
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2023 12:05 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Labadi, Sophia:
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