Launched in 1996 with founding sponsor American Express, the Watch is announced every two years and includes sites nominated by individuals and community-based organizations that span the globe.
Since the program’s inception, the Watch has been a proven tool for raising awareness about heritage places in need of protection and galvanizing action and support for their preservation. Heritage sites can be nominated by any individual or organization, ensuring that the Watch remains a powerful platform for amplifying voices of local community members and residents. Once submitted, nominations undergo extensive internal and external review by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and an independent panel of international heritage experts responsible for the final selection.
To date, World Monuments Fund (WMF) has contributed more than $110 million toward projects at more than 300 Watch sites, with the visibility provided by the Watch helping communities leverage an additional $300 million from other sources.
The current 2022 World Monuments Watch cycle spotlights 25 heritage sites of extraordinary significance, facing pressing challenges, and where WMF's partnership with local communities has the potential to make a meaningful difference.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the World Monuments Watch?
- Why is the Watch so important?
- How does WMF find sites for the World Monuments Watch?
- What kind of criteria are used to select Watch sites?
- Does WMF provide financial assistance to these sites?
- Beyond recognition, what support does the Watch offer to these sites?
- How many sites have benefitted from the Watch Program over the years?
- What does WMF hope to accomplish through the 2022 Watch, specifically?
The World Monuments Watch is a biennial program that advocates for heritage places in critical need of protecting and galvanizes action and support for their preservation. The 2022 Watch announcement includes an emphasis on sites facing global challenges of climate change, imbalanced tourism, underrepresentation, and recovery from crisis. The Watch not only brings awareness to these pressures on heritage places but is the impetus for developing new field projects that provide local solutions with global relevance.
The Watch provides a critical platform to raise awareness of and support for heritage sites of global significance that are facing pressures relating to climate change, imbalanced tourism, underrepresentation, and recovery from crisis. These challenges exist throughout the world, providing an opportunity for developing site-specific interventions that have global applications. By protecting these irreplaceable sites for future generations, we can also enhance social inclusion and improve the resilience of communities as they adapt for the future.
Every two years, WMF holds an open call for nominations that undergo extensive internal and external review. Sites can be nominated by anyone in the world, ensuring that the Watch remains a powerful platform for amplifying voices of local community members and residents. The 2022 Watch open call resulted in more than 225 nominations from individuals and community-based organizations that span the globe.
WMF is not currently accepting nominations for the 2025 World Monuments Watch.
Among the criteria considered are the site’s cultural significance, the need for timely action, and the feasibility of the proposed approach. Emphasis is also placed on lesser-known sites associated with groups whose livelihoods would be directly and meaningfully impacted by preservation activities that support community well-being.
WMF’s Watch Fund, which is made possible by WMF donors, is dedicated to supporting preservation solutions at Watch sites in a variety of ways. To date, WMF has invested more than $110 million in Watch sites with an additional $300 million leveraged by site nominators because of the visibility provided by the Watch.
WMF works through the Watch develops new field projects in partnership with local stakeholders. Ranging from advocacy and skills training to planning and physical conservation, interventions take different forms depending on the unique needs of the site, local context, and opportunities to support communities in addressing global challenges.
Since its launch in 1996, WMF has contributed more than $110 million toward projects at more than 300 Watch sites, with the visibility provided by the Watch helping communities leverage an additional $300 million from other sources.
The 2022 Watch sites represent a diverse array of challenges and opportunities. As such, our goals for each site are unique and are driven by the needs expressed by their stakeholders. At the same time, the projects developed as part of the Watch can provide new insights for addressing similar challenges elsewhere in the world. Some require advocacy to protect the heritage of underrepresented groups. Others need physical conservation to address damage caused by climate change as well as strategies for adapting to a warming planet. Others seek more inclusive strategies for managing tourism. In the coming months, World Monuments Fund will work with our partners on the ground to develop action plans that support their most urgent needs.
World Monuments Fund Watch Day
Safeguarding the Irreplaceable
The World Monuments Watch is a nomination based process that galvanizes individuals, communities, and leaders from across the public and private sectors to come together around global issues affecting heritage sites and sets the future direction of WMF’s field work.