36 CFR § 73.9 - World Heritage criteria.
(a) What are the World Heritage criteria and how are they applied? The World Heritage Committee uses the following criteria to evaluate cultural and natural properties nominated to the World Heritage List. To qualify for addition to the World Heritage List, sites must meet one or more of the criteria. For information on how to apply the criteria, you should consult their annotated text in the Operational Guidelines for the World Heritage Convention. The Operational Guidelines are published periodically by the World Heritage Centre. You may obtain copies of the World Heritage Convention, the Operational Guidelines, and other program information upon request to the Office of International Affairs of the National Park Service, 1849 C Street, NW., Room 2242, Washington, DC 20240. The World Heritage Convention and the Operational Guidelines are also posted on the World Heritage Centre's Web site at www.unesco.org/whc.
(b) What are the cultural criteria? The criteria for the inclusion of cultural properties in the World Heritage List should always be seen in relation to one another and should be considered in the context of the definition set out in Article 1 of the Convention. A monument, group of buildings or site - as defined in Article 1 of the Convention - which is nominated for inclusion in the World Heritage List will be considered to be of outstanding universal value for the purpose of the Convention when the Committee finds that it meets one or more of the following criteria and the test of authenticity:
(1) Each property nominated should therefore:
(i) Represent a masterpiece of human creative genius; or
(ii) Exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design; or
(iii) Bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared; or
(iv) Be an outstanding example of a type of building or architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates a significant stage(s) in human history; or
(v) Be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement or land-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change; or
(vi) Be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance (the Committee considers that this criterion should justify inclusion in the List only in exceptional circumstances and in conjunction with other criteria cultural or natural).
(2) In addition to the criteria in paragraphs (b)(1)(i) through (b)(1)(vi) of this section, the sites should also meet the test of authenticity in design, material, workmanship or setting and in the case of cultural landscapes their distinctive character and components (the Committee stressed that reconstruction is only acceptable if it is carried out on the basis of complete and detailed documentation on the original and to no extent on conjecture) and have adequate legal and/or contractual and/or traditional protection and management mechanisms to ensure the conservation of the nominated cultural properties or cultural landscapes.
(c) What are the natural criteria? A natural heritage property - as defined in Article 2 of the Convention - which is submitted for inclusion in the World Heritage List will be considered to be of outstanding universal value for the purposes of the Convention when the Committee finds that it meets one or more of the following criteria specified by the Operational Guidelines and fulfills the conditions of integrity:
(1) Sites nominated should therefore:
(i) Be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth's history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features; or
(ii) Be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals; or
(iii) Contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance; or
(iv) Contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.
(2) In addition to the criteria in paragraphs (c)(1)(i) through (c)(1)(iv) of this section, the sites should also fulfill the following conditions of integrity:
(i) The sites described in paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section should contain all or most of the key interrelated and interdependent elements in their natural relationships.
(ii) The sites described in paragraph (c)(1)(ii) of this section should have sufficient size and contain the necessary elements to demonstrate the key aspects of processes that are essential for the long-term conservation of the ecosystems and the biological diversity they contain.
(iii) The sites described in paragraph (c)(1)(iii) of this section should be of outstanding aesthetic value and include areas that are essential for maintaining the beauty of the site.
(iv) The sites described in paragraph (c)(1)(iv) of this section should contain habitats for maintaining the most diverse fauna and flora characteristic of the biogeographic province and ecosystems under consideration.
(3) The sites should have a management plan. When a site does not have a management plan at the time when it is nominated for the consideration of the World Heritage Committee, the State Party concerned should indicate when such a plan will become available and how it proposes to mobilize the resources required for the preparation and implementation of the plan. The State Party should also provide other document(s) (e.g. operational plans) which will guide the management of the site until such time when a management plan is finalized.