National Geographic : 2002 Oct
case of superlative places. World Heritage status commits the home nation to protect the designated location. And if a site-through natural disaster, war, pollution, or lack of funds-begins to lose its value, nations that have signed the treaty must assist, if possible, in emergency aid campaigns. To date 172 of the world's 192 nations have signed the treaty. WORLD HERITAGE SITES The World Heritage pro gram has scored high-profile successes. It exerted pressure to halt a highway near Egypt's Giza Pyramids, block a salt mine at a gray whale nursery in Mexico, and cancel a dam proposal above Africa's Victo ria Falls. Its funds, provided by dues from the treaty's sign ers, have hired park rangers, bought parkland, built visitor centers, and restored temples. It relies on persuasive pow ers more than legal threats, but at age 30 the World Her itage initiative has quietly become a force for appreciating and safeguarding the world's special places. Find more World Heritage images and links and resources selected by our Research Division at nationalgeo graphic.com/ngm/0210.