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World Heritage Catalysis

An emerging commons oriented community of practice applying new tools and technologies in transformative tourism and visitor management for heritage protection and community resilience. 

Role in programme(s):


Glasgow Declaration World Heritage Catalysis Climate Action Plan World Heritage Catalysis ( is an emerging commons oriented community of practice applying innovative technologies in transformative visitor management. The goal is to enhance resilience and adaptive capacity across communities living in and around UNESCO World Heritage sites. World Heritage Catalysis recognises the vulnerability of many tourism dependent communities and the unsustainability of a perpetual growth approach. Underpinning efforts to decouple tourism driven development and greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions, it calls for a new transformative paradigm where natural and cultural heritage commons are protected from exploitation and negative externalities including carbon emissions. Integral in World Heritage Catalysis’ theory of change is VMAST - the UNESCO World Heritage Visitor Management Assessment & Strategy Tool ( Applied by World Heritage site management authorities VMAST helps improve visitor management for the protection of heritage values while localising the UN SDGs. Assisting implementation of VMAST, World Heritage Catalysis facilitates a participatory process where community right holders and stakeholders collaboratively deliberate strategies supporting the transition towards a commons oriented and regenerative development pathway. By creating and facilitating an online infrastructure enabling inclusive collaboration, World Heritage Catalysis seeks to minimise the need for work related travel supporting efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Furthermore, recognising our current financial and monetary system as a main root cause of the integral unsustainability of our current economic growth paradigm, World Heritage Catalysis is elaborating WHETS - the World Heritage Exchange Trading System ( as a contribution to climate friendly monetary innovation for the protection of natural and cultural heritage, regenerative exchanges and community resilience. As signatory to the Glasgow Declaration and committed to the shared goal of cutting tourism emissions in half over the next decade and reach Net Zero emissions as soon as possible by 2050, World Heritage Catalysis will: Interim targets (within the next 12 months) Elaborate decarbonization efforts as part of the theory of change (; Identify and promote resources and practices that support decarbonisation across all the VMAST goals (; Specifically support VMAST Goal B: Contribution to Environmental Sustainability, climate change mitigation & adaptation, Objective B8: Greenhouse gas emissions (carbon footprint) are minimised (; In the Code of practice for Catalyst include a pledge on general decarbonisation and carbon neutrality in efforts facilitated under or associated with World Heritage Catalysis (; In Partner identification and agreements consider direct and indirect carbon emissions from activities (; Seek to minimize carbon footprint in the acquisition and use of technological hardware and software (; Communicate involvement in the Glasgow Declaration and publish the Climate Action Plan on the website ( Long term targets: World Heritage sites and destinations supported through World Heritage Catalysis has a net-zero aim and decarbonisation strategy with clearly identified actions integrated into their tourism and/or visitor management strategy; An elaborated and empirically supported theory of change including climate actions and regenerative practices. WHETS (the World Heritage Exchange Trading System) is utilised as a climate friendly means of exchange.