A Common Heritage
The Right to Starlight

International Initiative in Defence of the Quality of the Night Sky as Mankind’s Scientific, Cultural and Environmental Right




International Workshop
and Expert Meeting

Starlight Reserves - World Heritage
Intelligent Lighting and Night Sky Protection
Star Tourism

La Palma 9-10 November, 2009.

Starlight Workshop
Close to the finalisation of the International Year of Astronomy, the aim of this open workshop is to make us think over the important progress made in night sky defence and preservation of the associated cultural, scientific and environmental heritage, as well as the objectives and challenges of future beyond IYA 2009.

Starlight2009 Opening Session

Expert Meeting
After the Fuerteventura meeting (Starlight Reserves and World Heritage: Scientific, Cultural and Environmental Values, April 2009), and taking into account the Kazan recommendations (UNESCO-IAU Conference on Astronomy and World Heritage, August 2009), the group of experts was convened with the aim to go forward on the identification of case studies, contents and proposals of natural areas, nightscapes and exceptional sites for astronomical observation that should be included in the World Heritage List. The second objective has been to analyse and propose coordination, dissemination and networking actions to promote the defence of star-related cultural, scientific and natural heritage, and of those places that can be promoted as starlight and dark sky reserves.


“An unpolluted night sky that allows the enjoyment and contemplation of the firmament should be considered an inalienable right of humankind equivalent to all other environmental, social, and cultural rights, due to its impact on the development of all peoples and on the conservation of biodiversity.”
Declaration in Defence of the Night Sky and the Right to Starlight. La Palma, Spain 2007.

“The meeting encouraged States Parties to develop appropriate frameworks for the protection of dark skies, and where these are in place to implement and respect them. Where legally protected Starlight Reserves are already in place States Parties should ensure local level efficient management and enforcement of criteria covering the wider tourism experience, the local inhabitants, climate change, cultural, astronomical, and natural issues, noting that failure to do so may result in withdrawal of reserve status”.
Starlight Reserves and World Heritage International Workshop and Expert Meeting. Fuerteventura, Spain 2009.

“Protection of the astronomical quality of areas suitable for scientific observation of the Universe should be taken into account when developing and evaluating national and international scientific and environmental policies, with due regard to local cultural and natural values”.
RESOLUTION B5 in Defence of the Night Sky and the Right to Starlight. IAU General Assembly 2009. Rio de Janeiro. Brazil.


organised by

in collaboration with

with the support





Where the Earth meets the Universe

the International workshop “Starlight Reserves and World Heritage: Scientific, Cultural and Environment Values” was held on the island of La Palma on 9 and 10 nobiembre.
Programme La Palma Programme



Workshop Presentations
Conference Sessions WEBCAST

The presentations are available in pdf format.
Conference Session Webcasts will be available soon.

Starlight Reserve Concept


Developed by Starlight Initiative (IAC) in cooperation with UNESCO-World Heritage Centre (Initiative Astronomy and World Heritage), IAU (International Astronomical Union) and the support of MaB (MaB Urban Ecology Programme of UNESCO), CIE (International Commission on Illumination), OTPC-IAC (Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias) and UNWTO (World Tourism Organization).
Document (2.8 MB) Starlight Declaration

Final Report Fuerteventura
Starlight Reserves and World Heritage

The International Workshop and Expert Meeting ”Starlight Reserves and World Heritage – scientific cultural and environmental values”, held in Fuerteventura, Spain, 10-11 March 2009, was attended by 35 participants and experts from 10 countries.The Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee, Ambassador Maria Jesús San Secundo, also participated in the International Workshop.
Report (1 MB) Starlight Declaration
More Information UNESCO-World Heritage Centre

UNESCO World Heritage Centre

statement on the occasion of the International Meeting Where the Earth meets the Universe. 9-10 November 2009, La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain.
Statement Statement WHC
Hulugh Beg

Astronomy and World Heritage
Working Group

This website contains information about UNESCO’s Astronomy and World Heritage Initiative and the activities of the IAU’s Working Group on Astronomy and World Heritage. The Working Group is collaborating with The Starlight Initiative to help preserve the natural heritage of the dark night sky.
More information ...>

IUCN - WCPA Task Force

IUCN's first step toward preserving natural darkness
Dark Skies Advisory Group

This advisory group was set up in early 2009 within the Task Force on Cities and Protected Areas of IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA). It is chaired by David Welch, an ecosystem management and protected areas consultant based in Ottawa, Canada.
More Information - Statment ...>

World Heritage

World Heritage Review
World Heritage and Astrponomy

The latest issue of UNESCO's World Heritage Review has been released, with astronomy and world heritage as its theme. The publication includes a chapter "Starlight Reserves and World Heritage: Scientific, cultural and environmental values"
More Information ....>

IYA Dark Sky
International Conference:

19 - 24 August, Kazan , Russia

During the opening ceremony of the International Year of Astronomy, which took place on 15 January 2009, the Director-General of UNESCO officially launched the cycle of activities "Astronomy and World Heritage: across time and continents". One of the main activities of this cycle is the International Conference on "Astronomy and World Heritage: across time and continents", hosted by the Government of the Republic of Tatarstan (Russian Federation) 19 - 24 August 2009.
More Information ....>
Cover Starlight
A Common Heritage

International Conference in Defence of the Quality of the Night Sky and the Right to Observe the Stars.
Publication Starlight Declaration