Frequently asked questions

1. What is the IUCN World Heritage Outlook?
2. What is the purpose of the IUCN World Heritage Outlook?
3. Why has IUCN developed the IUCN World Heritage Outlook?
4. What are Conservation Outlook Assessments?
5. Which World Heritage sites are assessed in the IUCN World Heritage Outlook?
6. How do I access a Conservation Outlook Assessment?
7. How are Conservation Outlook Assessments prepared and approved?
8. How reliable are Conservation Outlook Assessments?
9. What do the assessment ratings mean?
     a. "Good"
     b. "Good with some concerns"
     c. "Significant concern"
     d. "Critical"

     e. "Data deficient"
10. What is the assessments' section on "benefits" about?
11. What methodology is used?
12. Who is consulted on Conservation Outlook Assessments?
13. How are States Parties, including management authorities and site managers, consulted and involved?
14. How will the IUCN World Heritage Outlook relate to IUCN's official advisory role under the World Heritage Convention?
15. What is the difference between the IUCN World Heritage Outlook and Periodic Reporting?
16. How often will the IUCN World Heritage Outlook be reviewed?
17.  Is the website available in different languages?
18. How can the IUCN World Heritage Outlook be used to support natural World Heritage?
19. Can I make comments or suggestions on the IUCN World Heritage Outlook?

 

1. What is the IUCN World Heritage Outlook?

The IUCN World Heritage Outlook provides the first comprehensive global assessment of the conservation prospects for natural World Heritage. It is a new system developed by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) together with IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas (IUCN WCPA).

The IUCN World Heritage Outlook assesses every natural World Heritage site through Conservation Outlook Assessments.

>> Learn more about the IUCN World Heritage Outlook
 

2.  What is the purpose of the IUCN World Heritage Outlook?

The purpose of the IUCN World Heritage Outlook is to track the status of all natural World Heritage sites, recognize excellence in their conservation and identify the actions needed to protect these exceptional sites.
 

3.  Why has IUCN developed the IUCN World Heritage Outlook?

IUCN has developed the IUCN World Heritage Outlook so that IUCN's and WCPA's expertise can benefit all natural World Heritage sites. Before this, only sites affected by serious conservation issues were regularly assessed by IUCN, together with the World Heritage Centre, representing about half of all natural sites. By assessing all natural sites, the high standards of World Heritage conservation can be highlighted.


4.    What are Conservation Outlook Assessments?

Conservation Outlook Assessments are a projection of the potential for a natural World Heritage site to conserve its values over time, based on a desk-based assessment of three elements:

1.    The current state and trend of sites' natural World Heritage values
2.    The threats affecting those values
3.    The effectiveness of protection and management.


The assessments are compiled by IUCN experts, including members of IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA). They draw on published information and knowledge provided by IUCN members, partners, site managers and communities. Conservation Outlook Assessments also include additional information on active or potential conservation projects in the sites, and on the ecosystem services and benefits provided by the sites to people.


5.    Which World Heritage sites are assessed in the IUCN World Heritage Outlook?

The IUCN World Heritage Outlook assesses, for the first time, all World Heritage sites that have been inscribed on the World Heritage List under natural criteria. In cases of mixed sites (natural and cultural), only the natural values are taken into consideration for IUCN's Conservation Outlook Assessments.


6.  How do I access a Conservation Outlook Assessment?

You can access the assessments by exploring the interactive map or through the site search, where you can narrow down results using filters.

The filtered search allows you to search the Conservation Outlook Assessments by site, region, criteria of Outstanding Universal Value, rating, threat and benefits. Soon other filters will be developed to include other international designations and ecosystem types, providing an overview of conservation issues for each of these search criteria

Each site page contains a summary and a detailed version of the assessment. This information can be used to identify and replicate success, and draw attention to conservation needs.  


7.    How are Conservation Outlook Assessments prepared and approved?

The first step in preparing Conservation Outlook Assessments is to gather existing information on every natural World Heritage site. This data is mobilized through IUCN's World Heritage Programme, the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, IUCN's network of member organizations and scientific commissions (such as the Species Survival Commission), and consultation with key knowledge holders, including local stakeholders and site managers whenever possible.

This information is compiled and assessed by IUCN WCPA specialists against a standardized methodology to ensure consistency. Assessments are then reviewed and revised by regional review groups. Conservation Outlook Assessments are given final approval by the IUCN World Heritage Panel before they are published.

>> Learn more about the consultation process
 

8.    How reliable are Conservation Outlook Assessments?

Conservation Outlook Assessments are desk-based and are undertaken by IUCN experts based on the best data available to IUCN, following a standard methodology.

Each completed Conservation Outlook Assessment goes through a rigorous review process before it is given final approval by the IUCN World Heritage Panel. The system is open to all to provide comment and suggested improvements. If you consider there is either any inaccuracy in the assessments, or new information means that an assessment should be revised, please help us improve the IUCN World Heritage Outlook by providing feedback.

 

9.    What do the assessment ratings mean?

Each Conservation Outlook Assessment has an overall rating. There are five rating categories:

a.    "Good"

The site's values are in good condition and are likely to be maintained for the foreseeable future, provided that current conservation measures are maintained.

b.    "Good with some concerns"

While some concerns exist, with minor additional conservation measures the site's values are likely to be essentially maintained over the long-term.

c.    "Significant concern"

The site's values are threatened and/or may be showing signs of deterioration. Significant additional conservation measures are needed to maintain and/or restore values over the medium to long-term.

d.    "Critical"

The site's values are severely threatened and/or deteriorating. Immediate large-scale additional conservation measures are needed to maintain and/or restore the site's values over the short to medium-term of the values may be lost.

e.    "Data deficient"

Available evidence is insufficient to draw a conclusion.

>> More on the assessment ratings


10.    What is the assessments' section on "benefits" about?

Conservation Outlook Assessments also compile, for the first time, information on ecosystem services and benefits provided by natural World Heritage sites. It is planned that a global overview of these benefits will also be available through an interactive map on the World Heritage Outlook website and will be complemented by a set of case-studies.

 

11.    What methodology is used?

The methodology for the IUCN World Heritage Outlook was developed based on a number of existing assessment methodologies, which reflect IUCN's best practice approaches to protected areas, adapted specifically to World Heritage sites. The approach also responds to methodologies and lessons learned from a number of sources including the Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report, the WCPA/UNESCO Enhancing Our Heritage Toolkit, as well as aspects of WWF Protected Area Benefits Assessment Tool, and Periodic Reporting.

The methodology was developed through a consultative process with an advisory group involving IUCN specialists and Commission members, UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre and World Heritage site managers. In 2011, a pilot was developed for the Arab States to test its validity. The methodology is publicly available.

>> Learn more about the methodology

 

12.    Who is consulted on Conservation Outlook Assessments?

A wide range of stakeholders have been consulted throughout the preparation of the Conservation Outlook Assessments, including State Parties, management authorities, site managers, researchers, community groups, IUCN WCPA members and other IUCN Commission members, non-governmental organizations and development agencies. All information provided through consultation is carefully reviewed by IUCN in order to produce each Conservation Outlook Assessment. The IUCN World Heritage Outlook is open to all to provide feedback in order to improve or update assessments with new information.  

>> Learn more about the consultation process


13.    How are States Parties, including management authorities and site managers, consulted and involved?

Consultation is indispensible to the preparation of the IUCN World Heritage Outlook. The IUCN World Heritage Outlook is open to continuous input from management authorities and site managers. Where IUCN already has contacts, site managers are invited to contribute information for inclusion in the assessments. We invite site managers who are not already in touch with IUCN to contact us at worldheritageoutlook@iucn.org.

Site managers can get involved by filling out the consultation form and also by providing any additional information on the sites to IUCN. This includes supporting documentation such as new management plans, newsletters, management effectiveness assessment and monitoring reports, for example. Whenever feasible, site managers are also invited to comment on draft Conservation Outlook Assessments. As we further improve the IUCN World Heritage Outlook, we also aim to produce local language translations of assessments, wherever possible, to assist in local consultation and feedback.

>> Download the consultation form


14.    How will the IUCN World Heritage Outlook relate to IUCN's official advisory work under the World Heritage Convention?

The World Heritage Outlook is different from the work IUCN does as an Advisory Body under the World Heritage Convention, but complements that work. The IUCN World Heritage Outlook is an independent knowledge tool produced by IUCN that aims to support directly World Heritage sites, government and NGO members of IUCN, and IUCN specialists and partners.  

The IUCN World Heritage Outlook does not replace any of the monitoring systems under the World Heritage Convention, but it helps improve IUCN's work in supporting those systems. It complements the World Heritage Convention's Reactive Monitoring system – which is applied only to sites where problems have been identified – by providing an assessment of all sites, and recognizing well-managed sites and their conservation efforts.

Any new information identified through the IUCN World Heritage Outlook, which should be brought to the attention of the World Heritage Committee, will be communicated to UNESCO by IUCN. The World Heritage Outlook thus enables IUCN to be more proactive, systematic and transparent in its advice to States Parties and the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.   

>> Learn more about IUCN's Advisory Body role


15.    What is the difference between the IUCN World Heritage Outlook and Periodic Reporting?

Periodic Reporting is undertaken every six years by States Parties to the World Heritage Convention and is a self-assessment with limited information on individual sites that is not easy to access.  Where information is available from Periodic Reports, this has been included in Conservation Outlook Assessments.

The IUCN World Heritage Outlook is an independent assessment, produced by IUCN, and will be updated every three years. Unlike Periodic Reporting, all regions will be handled at the same time, providing a global assessment for all natural World Heritage sites. On the other hand, information available through Periodic Reporting is used among other sources for the preparation of Conservation Outlook Assessments.


16.    How often will the IUCN World Heritage Outlook be reviewed?

All Conservation Outlook Assessments will be reviewed every three years. However, in case new important information on a particular site becomes available, that assessment can be reviewed at any time.


17.    Is the website available in different languages?

General information on the World Heritage Outlook website is available in the three official languages of IUCN: English, French and Spanish. However, only English can currently be used to search sites or explore the map.

Conservation Outlook Assessments are produced in English for all sites and, wherever relevant, in a second language. Initially, translations are provided  in French or Spanish for countries that are francophone or hispanophone.  To make the system even more useful, we intend to also produce local language versions of Conservation Outlook Assessments wherever feasible, and welcome support to do this.

IUCN is able to review feedback on assessments submitted in Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.  We may also be able to review information submitted in other languages, but please contact us before submitting information.

Contact us at worldheritageoutlook@iucn.org to propose a translation


18.    How can the IUCN World Heritage Outlook be used to support natural World Heritage?

The most important goal of the IUCN World Heritage Outlook is to promote proactive conservation actions to help improve the outlook for all natural World Heritage sites.  This can be achieved by recognizing successful conservation measures and enabling their replication, and by identifying the most pressing conservation issues facing each site and the actions needed to address them. This information can be used to develop conservation projects on the ground, identify capacity building needs and advocate for more support to World Heritage sites.

The next phase of work after the launch of the World Heritage Outlook will focus on building partnerships to support actions to connect World Heritage Outlook to the action needed on the ground to conserve World Heritage sites.

>> Find out more about partners to the IUCN World Heritage Outlook


19.    Can I make comments or suggestions on the IUCN World Heritage Outlook?

We welcome any comment on the IUCN World Heritage Outlook or on any individual assessment. You can submit your feedback by filling the online feedback form or via email to worldheritageoutlook@iucn.org. If significant new information becomes available on a particular site, its assessment can be revised by IUCN at any time, and all assessments will be updated at least every three years.

We also encourage you to share your general suggestions on how we can improve the assessments and, most importantly, how we can connect the IUCN World Heritage Outlook to action needed to support natural World Heritage sites and achieve an improved conservation outlook.

>> Send your feedback