The 45th session of the World Heritage Committee concluded on Monday 25 September in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This year, the Committee inscribed 42 new sites and approved the extension of 5 sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

At the end of its fortnight’s work, the Committee inscribed 42 new sites, of which 33 are cultural sites and 9 are natural sites. These sites will now benefit from the highest level of heritage protection in the world. They will also have access to new opportunities for technical and financial assistance from UNESCO. These inscriptions bring the total number of UNESCO World Heritage sites to 1199 across 168 countries. The World Heritage Committee also approved the extension of 5 sites and examined the state of conservation of 263 sites that were already inscribed.

Representatives of the 195 States Parties to the World Heritage Convention and nearly 300 civil society organizations were present in Riyadh for this session of the Committee. They worked together on how to tackle the major global challenges facing heritage: climate change, urban development and demographic pressure, armed conflicts and mass tourism.

UNESCO also presented studies and innovative solutions for management, conservation, and raising public awareness, such as the immersive Dive Into Heritage tool, which from 2025, will enable the general public to explore World Heritage sites online.

Six World Heritage properties in Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, Haiti, the Marshall Islands and Sri Lanka were awarded international funding totaling USD 336,000 to support local conservation projects. In 2022 and 2023, more than thirty sites benefited from such financial aid, which totaled more than 1 million USD.