Canada is one of 189 countries that have joined together under the World Heritage Convention “to identify, protect, conserve, and present” cultural and natural heritage of outstanding value and make sure it is there for future generations. By doing so, Canada has pledged to care for its own World Heritage sites, and avoid deliberate measures that could damage sites in other countries.

World Heritage logo, exploring the process

The World Heritage logo

World Heritage properties can be cultural, natural, mixed or ‘cultural landscapes’. They can be a series of properties linked together (e.g. the Rideau Canal) or spread over national borders (e.g. Kluane / Wrangell-St Elias / Glacier Bay / Tatshenshini-Alsek). Types of Cultural heritage are monuments, groups of buildings, and sites. Decisions about inscribing properties onto the World Heritage List are made by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee. The World Heritage Centre in Paris provides advice on the preparation of nominations, raises awareness, organizes the annual meetings, international emergency assistance and coordinates reporting on the condition of the properties.

Stage 1 – Canada’s Tentative List

The first step in the process is for Canada to make an inventory of places that have high potential for being selected as World Heritage sites. ‘The Klondike’ (now called ‘Tr’ondëk–Klondike’) was added to Canada’s Tentative List in 2004. The Government of Canada has recently initiated the process to renew the List, issuing a call for nominations in August 2016. ‘Tr’ondëk–Klondike’ will remain on Canada’s Tentative List while undergoing evaluation.

Stage 2 – The Nomination

The second step is the preparation and submission of a written nomination according to a specified format. Parks Canada Agency International Programs officials have worked with the Tr’ondëk–Klondike team to prepare the nomination, and submitted it to the World Heritage Centre for review in January 2017. The nomination makes the argument that the nominated property has Outstanding Universal Value under World Heritage criteria (iv) and (vi), and identifies the places that illustrate these values. The nomination demonstrates the authenticity and integrity of these places, and that a long-term management regime is already in place to maintain them into the future.

Stage 3 – The Evaluation

As of spring 2017, Tr’ondëk–Klondike is undergoing evaluation by an independent advisory group, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). These international experts review the written nomination, and visit the nominated property to evaluate its heritage values and its management regime, and to confirm the level of support of the various stakeholders. ICOMOS writes a technical report with recommendations for consideration by the World Heritage Committee.

Stage 4 – World Heritage Committee Assessment

During its July 2018 annual meeting, the World Heritage Committee will decide whether the nominated property is to be inscribed on the World Heritage List, referred back to the State Party for more information, deferred until further substantial work is conducted, or not inscribed on the World Heritage List.