The purpose of this paper is to describe the emergence of the concept of outstanding universal value and its application from the ancient to modern times culminating with its codification under the auspices of UNESCO in 1972.
The nearly four decades‐long application of UNESCO's World Heritage Convention offers a solid basis for a critical reflection regarding past achievements and future challenges. An entire review of this being beyond the scope of a single paper, it focuses on only a few salient issues which illustrate how this unique international legal instrument evolved in the past 39 years.
The paper singles out for each of the four stages at least one emblematic and most threatened World Heritage property, in order to illustrate major legal issues and how these were addressed by the parties.
As Secretary of the World Heritage Committee as well as Founder Director of the World Heritage Centre viewpoints the author presents that constitute a direct and continuous observation of World Heritage related matters over the last four decades.
von Droste, B. (2011), "The concept of outstanding universal value and its application", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 26-41. https://doi.org/10.1108/20441261111129915Download as .RIS
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