Faculty Author Type

Current Faculty [Natasha Affolder]

Published In

Victoria University Of Wellington Law Review

Document Type


Publication Date



World Heritage Convention, Democratic Deficits, Public Participation, Mining, Treaty Law


In recent disputes surrounding mining projects in and around World Heritage sites, the legitimacy of the World Heritage Convention regime has been attacked for a host of democratic failings. These accusations of 'democratic deficits' originate from both opponents and supporters of the Convention regime. They challenge the compatibility of international processes with national law and institutions, raise questions of accountability and transparency, and revisit tensions between state sovereignty and common heritage. This paper traces these perceptions of democratic shortcomings in the Convention regime to certain misunderstandings of the Convention, to failed participatory processes at the national level, and to the challenges posed by vague and ill-defined treaty obligations. At the same time as it unveils democratic concerns about the evolving nature of the treaty regime, this paper challenges us to consider the democratic strengths of the Convention.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.