Identifying Candidate Marine World Heritage Sites in the Arctic

Identifying Candidate Marine World Heritage Sites in the Arctic

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Dates / Project duration

March 2015 - November 2016 / 21 months

Field of action :

Development of marine protected areas

Branch :


Location :


Project sponsor(s) :

International Union for Conservation Nature


The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Polar Programme, the World Heritage Marine Programme (WHMP), and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) International Oceans Program propose a joint project to build on previous work by IUCN and NRDC to identify ecologically and biologically significant areas in the Arctic marine environment, and on previous work by the WHMP to develop an ecosystem approach to identifying candidate marine World Heritage sites. 

The proposal involves two components: the proposal involves two components:

1. Evaluate ecologically and biologically significant areas against the relevant World Heritage criteria. The goal is to identify potential candidate areas and thus enable the States Parties to the Convention, and the World Heritage Committee to address the need for enhanced protection and sustainable management of the marine environment in the Arctic Ocean.

2. Undertake activities to encourage relevant States Parties to the World Heritage Convention to consider nominating the identified candidate sites for formal designation as Marine World Heritage sites.

The project will be governed by the IUCN Polar Programme, NRDC International Oceans Program, and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre’s Marine Programme.  Direct input from both IUCN's World Heritage Programme and the UNESCO WHC, will ensure that it is connected fully to the work of the Convention, and respects all the relevant processes and standards.