Advice and Support

Retaining World Heritage Site status

Each World Heritage Site has a Statement of Outstanding Universal Value and a management plan.

Countries with World Heritage Sites must maintain their Outstanding Universal Value to ensure the sites remain on the World Heritage List. Two documents are essential to managing this commitment.

Statement of Outstanding Universal Value

The Statement of Outstanding Universal Value defines the elements within a World Heritage Site that make it internationally important and which must be protected, conserved and managed to maintain its significance.

The Statement of Outstanding Universal Value contains:

  • a brief description
  • statement of significance
  • statement of authenticity
  • statement of integrity
  • a section describing how the World Heritage Site is protected and managed

Strict guidelines relating to the criteria under which the site was originally inscribed govern the development of these statements. 

Management plan 

UNESCO requires every World Heritage Site to have a management plan. This helps to ensure a coordinated approach by all partners who work together to deliver the plan. 

A management plan:

  • clearly sets out the special qualities and values of the site 
  • establishes a framework for decision-making 
  • provides information on threats and opportunities for the site, so that it can be managed sustainably 

Each World Heritage Site is unique and must have a management plan that fits its specific character and needs.

Historic Environment Scotland is a partner in the management plans of all six current World Heritage Sites in Scotland. We also offer the site managers advice and support.