Path to World Heritage Designation

About World Heritage

The concept of World Heritage comes from the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. The Convention aims to encourage countries to protect their cultural and natural heritage and identify those properties that have outstanding universal value to inscribe them on the World Heritage List.

Outstanding universal value means cultural and/or natural significance which is so exceptional as to be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity.

To learn more about World Heritage and the World Heritage List, visit the UNESCO World Heritage website.

To discover the World Heritage Sites in Canada, visit the Parks Canada website.

The Path to World Heritage Designation

  1. Make it to the national tentative list: before submitting a proposal to UNESCO, the site has to make a tentative list in Canada. This essentially identifies the sites in Canada that have the best chances to fulfill the requirements of the nomination process. Canada unveiled its Tentative List in 2004 which included eleven sites, and Grand Pré was one of them. Click here for more information on Canada’s Tentative List.
  2. Prepare a nomination proposal: the nomination proposal should explain why the proposed property may have outstanding universal value, describe its integrity and its authenticity, and explain the legal and protective framework. These essentially answer the questions: what is special? How much of it is authentic? What shape is it in? and how is it going to be protected?
  3. Send the complete nomination proposal to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre (no later than February of each year): The proposal is received by the World Heritage Centre in Paris. Once it’s made sure that the nomination proposal is complete, the Centre distributes it to the relevant advisory bodies for review: the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) provides advice on cultural heritage and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) provides advice for natural heritage.
  4. Provide assistance during the review: ICOMOS and/or IUCN review the argument for outstanding universal value and visit the site to review the legal and management framework and assess local support. They have about 18 months to provide UNESCO with their recommendation.
  5. Review by the World Heritage Committee (June of every year): The World Heritage Committee is a committee of 21 countries elected by and from those who signed the World Heritage Convention. They are the ones who ultimately make the decision to inscribe, refer, defer, or not inscribe the proposed site.

For more information on the proposed outstanding universal value, plus read the report from January 2009.