The UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage was ratified in 1972. Finland joined the Convention in 1987. The convention is a treaty agreement to maintain a list of sites which have been deemed internationally valuable for their cultural and natural heritage. The list is called the World Heritage List.
Sites are considered for the list by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee after the country in which the site is has proposed the site. In Finland proposals for cultural heritage sites are drawn up by the Ministry of Education and the ones for natural heritage sites by the Ministry of the Environment.
The Kvarken Archipelago became Finland's first natural heritage site in July 2006.