World Heritage properties can only be nominated by the national government of a country, called a State Party, that has signed and ratified the World Heritage Convention. The decision to inscribe a property is made by the World Heritage Committee, a group of elected representatives of 21 of the States Parties based at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris. To be included on the World Heritage List properties must:
- be of outstanding universal value; and
- meet at least one of ten selection criteria.
‘Universal value’ is the key to the meaning of World Heritage. It means that the importance of World Heritage properties transcend national boundaries. Their qualities are extraordinary so that no matter which country they are found in, and who experiences them, they evoke a sense of wonder and admiration.