In addition to the official federal offices, which are responsible for contact with UNESCO in Paris and for the protection and preservation of World Heritage properties, the private association World Heritage Experience Switzerland (WHES) has been promoting the interests of World Heritage properties in Switzerland for over ten years.
The official authorities
The state's official authorities tasked with protecting nature and culture are the Federal Office of Culture (FOC) and the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). They are responsible for monitoring and providing scientific support for the World Heritage properties. The Swiss Commission for UNESCO (SCU) coordinates all the parties involved in Switzerland, oversees the World Heritage properties in general and raises public awareness of the value of World Heritage. The UNESCO section of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) is responsible for institutional relationships at international level. The permanent Swiss delegation at UNESCO in Paris maintains diplomatic relations with the various bodies of UNESCO. Locally, the individual Site Managers are responsible for maintaining and promoting the cultural and natural sites, with the assistance of scientific, cultural, political and tourist organisations and in partnership with the local population.
A Private Initiative: World Heritage Experience Switzerland (WHES)
In 2009, the World Heritage properties in Switzerland joined forces in a private association. For more than ten years, WHES has been promoting the concerns of its members and thus of the World Heritage properties. What once started mainly in the tourism environment has been expanded in the course of the last few years to include the areas of mediation and management.
For more information on WHES, click here.