The IUCN World Heritage Outlook assesses both current and potential threats. IUCN’s World Heritage Programme evaluates new sites nominated for the World Heritage List, monitors the conservation of listed sites, promotes the World Heritage Convention as a leading global instrument for conservation, and provides support, advice and training to site managers, governments, scientists and local communities.
World Heritage sites IUCN is the official advisory body on nature to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. Working closely with IUCN’s Commissions, especially the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (IUCN-WCPA), IUCN Members, and a range of partners, IUCN’s World Heritage Programme evaluates new sites nominated for the World Heritage List, monitors the conservation of listed sites, promotes the World Heritage Convention as a leading global instrument for conservation, and provides support, advice and training to site managers, governments, scientists and local communities.
IUCN’s report about the strategy of management of the Dolomites World Heritage Site
The necessary measures to establish an overall management system for the entire property have been achieved at the end of 2015 with the formal acceptance, by the Foundation Dolomites UNESCO and local administrations, of the Overall Management Strategy. The adoption of this overarching strategy which includes Tourism Strategy was a result of a participatory process (#Dolomiti2040) involving local administrations, communities and a large group of stakeholders. This represents an important step; however, adequate resources will need to be secured for the implementation of the Strategy. The conservation of the site’s landscape and its outstanding natural beauty are of some concern due to tourism activities and infrastructure within the property and in its surroundings. It is too early to evaluate a trend of the values. The geological values of the site are currently well preserved and will most likely be maintained in the foreseeable future.
A good management strategy as answer to threats
The IUCN World Heritage Outlook assesses both current and potential threats. The 2017 results show that almost all categories of threats are occurring in an increasing number of natural World Heritage sites compared to 2014.
Invasive species, climate change and tourism impacts are assessed, in that order, as the three most significant current threats to natural World Heritage. Climate change is the fastest growing threat, with a 77% increase in sites where it is seen as a high or a very high threat (62 sites in 2017, compared to 35 in 2014). It also remains by far the largest potential threat.
In order for natural World Heritage sites to be able to respond to threats, investing in protection and management is key. It is important to do more to prioritise efforts, at national and international levels, to help the most threatened sites move from a critical outlook. Many sites show areas of improved performance and, even if in some cases this has not been enough to trigger a change in the overall outlook rating, they still provide examples of good practice. Conversely, sites with a positive outlook should not be considered impervious to pressures and continued vigilance is required to guarantee their outlook remains positive.
As threats to natural World Heritage sites are intensifying, it will be even more important to ensure that the positive results from sites with an improved outlook are shared, as a means to inspire the highest levels of conservation success that are expected from World Heritage status.