Historically, it was the Aswan dam project which brought about the Convention. In 1959, UNESCO launched an international campaign to save the Abou Simbel temple and the Philae temple from flooding, and thanks to the efforts of several States, they were finally moved. This event shows that it is necessary for countries to cooperate to preserve exceptional cultural sites.
Other international campaigns of the same kind followed and UNESCO then prepared a Convention project solely on cultural heritage. Finally, mainly through encouragement from the United States, it was a Convention on both the world's cultural and natural heritage that was adopted. This is what is why the Convention is original. The Convention defines the type of natural or cultural sites that deserve to be registered on the « World heritage List » and which then (theoretically) receive particular attention and protection.