The UNESCO World Heritage list has set as a primary goal since its creation in 1972 the protection of places with special cultural or physical significance. Nevertheless, the present list suffers from a lack of balance regarding the distribution of sites in countries and the five UNESCO regions (Europe and North America, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Arab States and Sub-Saharian Africa. The selection criteria that contribute to the designation of a place as a UNESCO World Heritage site reveal that the sites must be of outstanding universal value. However, the unevenness of the list across countries and regions may point to other factors that contribute to the inclusion of a site on the list. In 1994 the Global Strategy for a representative, balanced and credible World Heritage list was introduced in order to better reflect the full spectrum of world cultural and natural treasures. The article explores the impact prior to and twenty years after the introduction of the Global Strategy and the influence of different economic and political determinants on the structure of the World Heritage list such as the membership in the World Heritage Committee and Convention.
UNESCO world heritage international institutions cultural economy international relations