The reasons for creating a French World Heritage Sites Association

Originally, the notion of world heritage was the domain of specialists, but it has now become the concern of all. However, it also involves local issues, with occasional conflicts of interest between development and conservation. The number of categories has increased, including outlying properties, serial properties, and extended properties such as natural, cultural, urban or rural landscapes. This has helped to make known the listed properties, to spread awareness of the concept of world heritage, and to broaden the issues related to its implementation.

France was one of the first States to ratify the World Heritage Convention, and ranks fourth worldwide in the number of listed sites on its territory. However, until the middle of the 2000s, with a few rare exceptions, there was no attempt to create any formal link between the French properties.

The situation changed following the preparation of the first periodic report on the application of the 1972 Convention and the state of conservation of the national world heritage properties. With the encouragement of the State, a number of managers decided to join forces and create a network in order to discuss the management challenges and issues facing them. Several national meetings were organized to identify the people involved and to draw up the aims of the joint project.

Finally, the French World Heritage Sites Association was created in September 2007, chaired by Yves Dauge, then Senator for Indre-et-Loire, and who has been extensively involved in the protection and enhancement of heritage in France and worldwide as part of his past and present functions.