Francesco Bandarin, the Italian who runs the UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre is an officially powerless, but oh so benevolent dictator of the world’s most beautiful valleys, cities, savannahs and breathtakingly “irreplaceable” sites.
Only a cultural adviser, Bandarin’s team gives only dark hints about what will happen if WHC sites don’t receive proper care. In principle, the 186 states that have ratified the World Heritage Convention agree that some places in the globe are too precious to be left to the decision-making of one government alone.
How well does the system work? Read UNESCO and World Heritage Sites: The limits of soft cultural power.