World Heritage Marine Programme

The World Heritage Marine Programme was created in 2005 with the aim of establishing effective conservation of all unique marine areas protected under the 1972 World Heritage Convention. Today, about 50 World Heritage sites are located in marine or coastal areas. Together, they represent the 'Crown Jewels of our Ocean' and are recognized for their outstanding beauty, exceptional biodiversity, or unique ecological, biological or geological processes. They are selected under strict criteria and through a rigorous nomination, evaluation and inscription process. In cooperation with a variety of partners, the World Heritage Marine Programme is developing innovative ways to support site managers with their conservation challenges, while simultaneously advancing the application of the World Heritage Convention for protecting the planet’s most valuable and unique marine places. The World Heritage Marine Programme is one of the six thematic programme's of UNESCO's World Heritage Centre, headquartered in Paris, France.

Hawaiian Monk Seal

The critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal ( Monachus schauinslandi ) is one of hundreds of marine species that can be found cruising the waters of Papahānaumokuākea, a chain of islands northwest of the main Hawaiian...

Coral Head Near Pearl and Hermes Atoll

Papahānaumokuākea, a chain of islands northwest of the main Hawaiian archipelago, is home to vibrant coral reefs with scores of fish species. It was designated a Marine World Heritage Site in August 2010.

Spinner Dolphins in Hawaii

Graceful spinner dolphins ( Stenella longirostris ) swim through the dazzling blue waters of the Papahānaumokuākea National Monument, northwest of the main Hawaiian archipelago. Papahānaumokuākea was listed as a Marine World...