Launched in 1996, 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 practitioners in the field and an independent panel of international heritage experts who shape 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  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.

Nominations are now closed for the 2025 cycle. 




The 2022 World Monuments Watch

Learn about 25 significant sites that need our help.

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 can I nominate a site?
  • How many sites have benefitted from the Watch program over the years?
  • What did WMF hope to accomplish through the 2022 Watch, specifically?

The World Monuments Watch is a nomination-based program that connects local heritage preservation to global awareness and action. Every two years, the Watch rallies support to places in need and the people who care for them, spotlighting new challenges and the communities worldwide harnessing heritage to confront the crucial issues of our time. At its core, the Watch’s call to action seeks to empower timely preservation efforts that improve the lives of communities.

The 2022 Watch included 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 advocacy efforts and field projects that provide local solutions with global relevance. 

The Watch provides a critical platform to raise awareness of and support for heritage places of global significance that are facing pressures relating to the most important global issues of our time – from climate change and underrepresentation to recovery from crisis and beyond. 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.   

Nominations are now closed for the 2025 cycle.

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.

World Monuments Fund is not a grant-making institution, and the process of nominating a site to the Watch is not a grant application. Inclusion on the Watch can create new opportunities for nominators and other stakeholders to advocate for sites and seek funds for a preservation project if they so choose. Additionally, WMF often raises funds from individuals and grant-making institutions for certain Watch sites to support joint work between WMF and our local partners. 

Because the needs and circumstances around each site vary, WMF works closely with successful nominators and other stakeholders to determine the best way to leverage the Watch to make a meaningful contribution at each site. In all cases, successful nominations benefit from public awareness, collaboration with WMF’s expert staff, financial support for a community-based event known as a “Watch Day,” and membership to WMF’s Watch Network, our global network of preservation leaders and practitioners. 

In certain cases, WMF also works to develop new field projects in partnership with local stakeholders through the Watch. 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. 

Nominations are now closed for the 2025 cycle. 

Since its launch in 1996, more than 800 sites have benefitted from the visibility and awareness generated through the Watch as well as from the consultation with our team and other resources the program provides successful nominators. 

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. World Monuments Fund is actively working with our partners on the ground to develop action plans and storytelling efforts that support their most urgent needs. 

World Monuments Fund Watch Day

Watch Days are held by site stakeholders to bring communities together in celebration of their heritage and traditions.

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.

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