International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property

World Heritage Leadership

The most recent development in capacity building within the World Heritage framework is the creation of the World Heritage Leadership Programme.  The Program is a partnership between ICCROM, IUCN, and the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and the Environment, in collaboration with the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS. It aims to improve conservation and management practices for culture and nature through the work of the World Heritage Convention, as an integral component of the contribution of World Heritage Sites to sustainable development.

Taking a new and transformative approach, the programme will not focus exclusively on work within the World Heritage Convention, but rather will take a wider view of the totality of conservation practice. It will consider how working through World Heritage sites and the communities and specialists that support them, World Heritage can provide new and better leadership to achieve and inspire innovation, performance and excellence in practice.

The programme will take a fully integrated approach to nature and culture from the outset, focusing on:

  • Setting and testing the leading standards for conserving sites, and ensuring their contribution to communities and sustainable development through engaging in World Heritage
  • Providing high profile, widely translated documented advice on conservation policies and practices, notably by integrating the ICCROM-led Managing Cultural World Heritage manual and the IUCN-led Managing Natural World Heritage manual into a single new publication
  • Establishing a network of internationally recognized leadership sites (including World Heritage Sites demonstrating leading practice) that can provide platforms for learning and capacity building
  • Building international networks between nature and culture practitioners and institutions that link on-ground practice with leadership at international, regional, national and local levels
  • Providing training events, exchanges, and other capacity-building activities to support the work of both site managers and stakeholders and national heritage services in diverse States Parties.


The programme is composed of five modules:

  • Effective management: Nature, Culture, and Communities
  • Resilience
  • Impact Assessment
  • Learning Sites
  • Leadership Networks.


The first activity carried out under the programme was a course on Linking Nature and Culture in World Heritage Site Management, which took place from 6 – 16 June 2017 at the Røros Mining Town and the Circumference in Norway.  The next activity will be a course on Promoting People-Centred Approaches: Engaging Communities in the Conservation of Nature and Culture in October.