The Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (‘World Heritage Convention’) has arguably become one of the most successful instruments of the United Nations (UN) in promoting cultural diplomacy, dialogue and international cooperation on heritage conservation. Adopted in 1972 by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at its 17th Session in Paris, its core principle is to conserve cultural and natural heritage sites, or ‘properties’, of outstanding universal value. 1 Sites that have been identified with such a value are considered to transcend the relevance of national boundaries and time. They belong not merely to a specific nation, but to humankind as a whole and are to be identified, protected, conserved, presented and passed on to future generations (UNESCO, 1972, article 4).