World Heritage Criteria for Selection

To be included on UNESCO's World Heritage List, sites must be of "outstanding universal value" and meet at least one of the following ten selection criteria:

Human creative genius
i. to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;

Interchange of values
ii. to 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;

Testimony to cultural tradition
iii. to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;

Significance in human history
iv. to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;

Traditional human settlement
v. to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;

Heritage associated with events of universal significance
vi. to 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 preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria);

Natural phenomena or beauty
vii. to contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;

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Major stages of Earth's history
viii. to 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;

Significant ecological and biological processes
ix. to 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;

Significant natural habitat for biodiversity
x. to 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.

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