How it Works

The Steps of Nomination.

The process of getting a site inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list begins when it is added to a country’s Tentative List. As a result of an application process, the three properties from Ohio were placed on the “United States’ Tentative List” in 2008. From there, sites can be invited to prepare a full World Heritage Nomination, through an evaluation process administered by the US National Park Service’s Office of International Affairs.

A Nomination Package

is a substantial undertaking with many components. When it is completed and sent forward to UNESCO, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) evaluates its presentation of the site’s “Outstanding Universal Value” in relation to at least one of the ten World Heritage criteria, plus its integrity and authenticity, and the documentation of protection and management measures. ICOMOS submits its recommendation to an annual meeting of the World Heritage Committee (representatives of 21 nations) which makes the final decision.

The Role of ICOMOS.

The International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is an international non-governmental organization which plays a leading role in the nomination, monitoring, and safe guarding of World Heritage cultural sites. ICOMOS is one of the three formal advisory boards to the World Heritage Committee, responsible for the evaluation of all cultural and mixed (natural and cultural) nominations. The International Scientific Committees (ISCs) of ICOMOS provide global expertise on heritage issues, the scientific evaluation of OUV (“outstanding universal value”), and the identification of experts for the technical evaluation of World Heritage nominations.


Many member countries have National Committees who provide expertise to ICOMOS. US/ICOMOS members play leading roles in the ISCs and lend their capabilities and knowledge to heritage sites around the globe. They also provide upstream assistance for nominations on the tentative list, host an international internship exchange program, and are active in heritage preservation in the U.S. US/ICOMOS works closely with the institutions and associations dedicated to heritage and historic preservation. The annual symposium highlights critical issues at home and abroad, creating international dialogue and collaboration.