UNESCO has established a comprehensive system of preservation of the World Heritage. UNESCO World Heritage List has been formed since 1972 as an integral element of the Convention on the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage.As of April 2009 the Convention was ratified by 186 countries.
The List (2009 est.) consists of 890 Sites in 148 countries, including 689 Cultural Sites, 176 Natural and 25 Mixed Sites.
The List includes 23 Russian Sites:
- Moscow Kremlin and Red Square (1990);
- Historic Center of St. Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments (1990);
- Kizhi Pogost (1990);
- Historical Monuments of Novgorod the Great and Environs (1992);
- Historical-Architectural Complex of the Solovetsky Islands (1992);
- White-Stone Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal (1992);
- Architectural Ensemble of the Laura of the Holy Trinity and St. Sergius in Sergiev Posad (1993);
- Church of the Ascension in Kolomenskoye (1994);
- Virgin Komi Forests (1995);
- Lake Baikal (1996);
- Volcanoes of Kamchatka (1996);
- Golden Mountains of Altai (1998);
- West Caucasus (1999);
- Architectural Ensemble of the St. Therapontus Monastery (2000);
- Kazan Kremlin Historic and Architectural Complex (2000);
- The Curonian Spit (with Lithuania, 2000);
- Central Sikhote-Alin (2001);
- Historical Center of Derbent - Ancient Derbent (2003);
- Uvs Nuur Basin (with Mongolia, 2003);
- Novodevichy Convent (2004);
- Natural System of Wrangel Island Reserve (2004);
- Historical Center of Yaroslavl (2005);
- Struve Geodetic Arc (with Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Ukraine, Finland, Sweden, Estonia) (2005).
In UNESCO World Heritage Center applications have been registered to include in the List 25 other Russian Cultural and Natural Sites.
Activities in the area of the protection of Natural and Cultural Sites inscribed on the List are maintained by the World Heritage Fund whose assets consist of Member States’ contributions.
In 2008, as part of the corresponding UNESCO project one took a decision upon Russia's participation in the restoration of Orthodox holy sites - World Heritage in Kosovo (the Republic of Serbia).
In 2009, during the 17th session of the General Assembly of States Parties to the Convention 1972 the Russian Federation was elected to the World Heritage Committee for a term of 4 years.
Significance for Russia:
• UNESCO Programs for the Preservation of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage provide Russia with the latest technology and advice in the field of restoration of ancient monuments, effective international framework and the regulatory framework for the management and maintenance of the Russian Heritage accumulated for ages and given by nature. Experience in the development of cultural tourism has not been called-for in full so far, but is waiting in the wings. It became, in many countries one of the most dynamic sectors of the economy. For multinational Russia, these programs may be a means of preserving cultural diversity of peoples living in our country.