What needs to change for the World Heritage Convention to work positively for Indigenous Peoples?

Of the more than 1,000 areas designated as World Heritage sites under UNESCO’s 1972 World Heritage Convention, a large number are fully or partially located within the traditional territories of indigenous peoples and are of great significance for their livelihoods and their spiritual, social and cultural well-being. World Heritage sites can play a positive role for indigenous peoples by helping them protect their lands and territories, cultures and heritage from development pressures. However, throughout the World Heritage Convention’s history, indigenous peoples have frequently raised concerns about violations of their rights in World Heritage sites. With the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the principles of which UN agencies like UNESCO are required to promote and apply in their work, there has been increasing attention on the need for improvements in the way the World Heritage Convention is implemented, in order to ensure that the rights of indigenous peoples are respected in World Heritage sites.


What needs to change for the World Heritage Convention to work positively for indigenous peoples? Join the debates taking place at the IUCN World Parks Congress.


We need to hear more about the Indigenous Peoples/Parks connection. During the International Day of the World's Indigenous People -- August 9 -- we rarely hear about parks and protected areas. I would also like to hear more about the Indigenous Peoples/Parks/Tourism connection. Travelers often learn about past owners of a particular land, but rarely with any interpretation or guiding from Indigenous guides. Please help us connect the dots!

Too many tourism operators find it convenient to engage guides who are not Indigenous and there are no mechanisms to enforce the authenticity of cultural experiences, in Tasmania at least.