Since the adoption of the World Heritage Convention in 1972, the notion that cultural and natural heritage need to be protected and properly utilized has gained popularity. Over time, however, such utilization concepts were less focused on ideas of sustainability and became increasingly influenced by commercial interests. For the first time, this publication attempts to elaborate the development of the World Heritage Convention, the Convention itself in its different facets and how it evolved into one of the most important UNESCO instruments for the protection of cultural and natural heritage. It will be shown that the protection and utilization of heritage is a highly complex political, participatory and interdisciplinary process. This publication discusses these developments and suggests potential solutions in order to deal with such unintended trends.