Endangered World Heritage Sites

At the moment, 44 UNESCO-protected sites face serious conservation problems, to the point of figuring in the List of World Heritage in Danger. When a heritage site is in danger, it means there is a threat to one or more "outstanding value" criteria for which it was inscribed in the list. These threats can be either natural - like earthquakes and weather conditions; or man generated- such as wars; or a combination of both.

Geographical Distribution of the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger

Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are the two countries with most endangered heritages. A third of Syria's 18 UNESCO sites are in danger, and of Congo's eight World Heritages, five are at risk of conservation.

Some World Heritage Sites Have Been in Danger for a Long Time

UNESCO's List of Heritage in Danger is fluid: a site can be removed from this list as soon as the grave threats to its conservation cease. In fact, 32 other sites used to be in this list but were gradually removed. The following table shows how many of the current 44 members of the List of World Heritage were included in each year. Israel's
Old City of Jerusalem
is still on this list, after 32 years from its inscription: it has the record of longer of permanence in a state that poses serious threats to its conservation.

Not in Danger, but Still at Risk: 460 World Heritage Sites Face Threats to Their Conservation

The List of World Heritage in Danger doesn't include all UNESCO protected areas that face some threats. In fact, UNESCO's reports have found some conservation risks for 460 of the 981 sites. As the following map shows, these are located all over the globe.

The most common kind of threats are those related to inadequate management system or planning - which affects 331 out of the 460 threatened locations. And while tourists flock over UNESCO protected areas, tourism in fact poses serious risks to about 18% of the World Heritage.

Click here to explore other threats and the sites they affect.