Saving our shared heritage

World Heritage sites belong to all of us. We must safeguard the benefits they provide.


Half of natural World Heritage sites are at risk

Half of natural World Heritage sites are at risk

Natural World Heritage sites are some of the planet’s most extraordinary places. We all have a role in protecting the outstanding universal value that they provide for all humanity.

Millions of people directly rely on these places for food, jobs, fresh water and well-being. Shockingly, 114 natural World Heritage sites are under threat from harmful industrial activities like mining, oil and gas drilling, and construction of large-scale infrastructure.

191 UN countries have promised to safeguard World Heritage sites for present and future generations. Too often, though, governments are allowing harmful industrial activities to put these places at risk in pursuit of short-term gains. World Heritage sites can drive long-term sustainable development, but they need protection. Once they’re gone they’re gone forever.

We know it’s possible to protect World Heritage sites. You’ve already helped us remove the most immediate threats to Virunga National Park and the Great Barrier Reef. With your support, we can tackle the problems that are putting precious places at risk.

Selous: Tanzania’s wilderness in danger

Selous: Tanzania’s wilderness in danger

The elephants and rhinos of Selous are under siege.

The Selous World Heritage site is facing severe threats from mining, oil and gas concessions, roads, dams, and industrial-scale poaching. Only a few rhinos are left in the park now, and elephant herds have declined by 90%.

And it’s not just the wildlife that’s at risk. Damage to the reserve means that it could see its visitor numbers decline and local people lose their jobs. Criminal gangs also threaten the safety of rangers and nearby communities.

Belize: Act now to safeguard the reef

Belize: Act now to safeguard the reef

Hundreds of thousands of us have spoken up. And they’re listening.

The Belize Barrier Reef is home to a spectacular array of marine life – with almost 1,400 species. But since 2009, the reef has been on UNESCO's World Heritage Sites In Danger List.

Over 450,000 of us have taken action already by emailing Belize’s Prime Minister, and it’s working. Belize recently announced an end to oil exploration in its waters, becoming a world leader in ocean protection. It’s a huge step, but there’s still more to do.

Doñana: a European haven for wildlife under threat


Millions of birds stop in Doñana National Park when migrating between northern Europe and Africa.

This diverse area is also home to the imperial eagle and endangered Iberian lynx. Already exploited for the once-abundant water of its wetlands, this precious ecosystem is under threat from harmful industrial activities like illegal water use. Thanks to the support of people like you, we’ve already succeeded in removing the immediate threat of river dredging. Can you help us make Doñana safe for good?

Stronger together

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© 2016 WWF

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