World Monuments Watch

A Beacon for Heritage

The World Monuments Watch—a call to action for cultural heritage sites facing imminent threats and challenges—creates opportunities for new awareness, improved protection, and positive change.

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20 Years of Watch Sites

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Spotlight

Twenty Years of the World Monuments Watch

Since its launch in 1996, the World Monuments Watch has served as a catalyst for action for hundreds of sites, leading to improved safeguarding of places of cultural heritage, more suitable tourism management, and increased community engagement. 

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The Watch in Action

Watch Day was launched in 2012 to bring communities together in celebration of their heritage and traditions. By raising awareness on global and local levels, positive changes are happening at Watch sites around the world. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the Watch?
  • Does the Watch provide project support?
  • What does inclusion on the Watch mean?
  • How do I nominate a site to the Watch?
  • How are sites selected for the Watch?

The World Monuments Watch is World Monuments Fund’s flagship advocacy program. It was launched in 1996 with support from founding sponsor American Express to call international attention to cultural heritage around the globe threatened by the forces of nature or the impact of social, political, and economic change. Every two years, WMF accepts nominations for sites in need of international awareness. For many historic sites, inclusion on the Watch provides an opportunity to raise public awareness, foster local participation in preservation, leverage resources for conservation, advance innovation and collaboration, and demonstrate effective solutions. Since its inception, the Watch has provided support for more than 600 sites, and has become a powerful vehicle for understanding and addressing the range of challenges confronting the field of heritage conservation today. 

Inclusion on the Watch does not guarantee funding from WMF. However, many sites have been able to use the attention drawn from the Watch to promote their cause and raise funds. By capitalizing on the Watch as a platform for visibility and community engagement, local entities have leveraged public and private support for Watch sites totaling over $240 million since the creation of the program in 1996. WMF has contributed an additional $100 million toward projects at more than 275 Watch sites.

The Watch is not a permanent designation, nor does inclusion on the Watch reflect poor management or stewardship of a site. By featuring new sites every two years, the Watch focuses attention on a wide range of conservation challenges and opportunities around the globe.

Anyone can nominate a site to the Watch, including private individuals or representatives of government agencies, educational institutions, nonprofits, or other non-governmental organizations familiar with a site.

The Watch has an online nomination process. We are currently not accepting nominations. To receive a notification when the next call for nominations goes out, subscribe to our e-newsletter at the end of the page, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter

Nominations undergo a rigorous review process conducted by WMF staff, independent experts around the world, and a final selection panel. Throughout the process, evaluation of nominations is based on the three following criteria:

  • Significance of the site
  • Urgency of the conditions or opportunities for change
  • Viability of a feasible plan of action

Nominations undergo a rigorous review process conducted by WMF staff, independent experts around the world, and a final selection panel. 

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Become a member and have a direct impact in helping to preserve the world’s great cultural heritage.

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Press releases and news articles about WMF and our projects, initiatives, and partners, and our 2016 World Monuments Watch press kit. Contact us at press@wmf.org.

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