In 1972, UNESCO adopted the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (the World Heritage Convention) with the goal of identifying and protecting places whose natural and cultural heritage values are of global importance. Canada ratified the World Heritage Convention in 1976 and, at that time, identified Parks Canada as the lead agency for Canada’s implementation of the World Heritage Convention. Assigning this responsibility to Parks Canada reflected the Agency’s capacity and expertise in a wide range of areas related to natural and cultural heritage management.
2008 World Heritage Committee meeting, Quebec City © Parks Canada
Since 1976, Parks Canada’s leadership for World Heritage has included: supporting project teams in the development of nominations for World Heritage sites in Canada; coordinating the preparation of reports on the state of conservation of Canadian World Heritage sites; and officially representing Canada at the annual meetings of the World Heritage Committee. Parks Canada staff members have been elected to serve as the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee 4 times and as the Rapporteur (secretary) to the Committee 4 times.
Staff from across Parks Canada helped out at the 2008 World Heritage Committee meeting © Parks Canada
Parks Canada’s leadership for World Heritage was recognized in 2008, when it hosted the World Heritage Committee meeting in Québec City on behalf of Canada, with more than 1000 attendees – including natural and cultural experts, diplomats and representatives of UNESCO, IUCN, ICOMOS, ICCROM and other stakeholder organizations - from 106 countries coming to Canada on the occasion of Quebec City’s 400th anniversary.
Over the last five years, Parks Canada has developed an increasingly active role in creating a network of managers and stakeholders focusing on advancing World Heritage in Canada. For more information about World Heritage sites in Canada, please visit this site.