In 1972, UNESCO adopted The World Heritage Convention. The Convention established the World Heritage List, which is a means of recognizing that some places, both natural and cultural, are of outstanding universal importance. By joining the Convention, 189 State Parties have pledged to care for World Heritage Sites in their territory and to avoid deliberate measures that could damage World Heritage in other countries. Canada currently has sixteen sites inscribed on the World Heritage List.
The international theme for the 40th anniversary celebration is “World Heritage and Sustainable Development: the Role of Local Communities in the Management of World Heritage Properties”. The theme of the Canadian celebrations is “Global Heritage in Your Backyard”. The final international celebration, a 3-day event in November 2012, will be hosted by Japan and take place in Kyoto, The outcomes of the different workshops and studies taking place over the year to feed the reflection on the future of the Convention will be presented.