In the 1970s, the idea of creating an international movement to protect world heritage gained increasing support. This resulted in the adoption of the UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972). This document combines two separate lines: the first focuses on safeguarding cultural sites, while the second regulates nature conservation. The convention was ratified by 184 countries. Referring to heritage as both cultural and natural, the Convention emphasises the interaction between humans and the natural environment and stresses the fundamental necessity to preserve a balance between them. UNESCO works in co-operation with countries all over the world in registering world heritage sites worthy of recognition as representatives of the common heritage of humanity and in guaranteeing their preservation for future generations. Today, the World Heritage List includes 851 sites inscribed in three categories: World Cultural Heritage (660); World Natural Heritage (166) and World Cultural and Natural Heritage - a combination of both (25 sites). A key coordination body in UNESCO on all World Heritage issues is the World Heritage Centre. This was founded in 1992 in the UNESCO Culture Sector and functions as a secretariat for the World Heritage Committee.
The World Heritage logo represents the mutual dependence between global natural and cultural diversity. The square in its centre symbolizes the results of all human abilities and inspiration, while the circle celebrates nature"s gifts. The logo is oval-shaped, like the Planet Earth: a symbol of the shared responsibility to protect the heritage of humanity.