The concept of sustainable development has emerged in response to the resulting environmental concerns and it is promoted across the globe as a means to address the vastly complex environmental and societal problems in an equitable and integrated fashion for both current and future generations. This chapter provides a contextual background to the World Heritage Convention and outlines the historical background and the shift towards the concept of a heritage of humanity. The role of World Heritage in the context of sustainable development is considered as well as the question of what sustainable development means in practice. Debate and definitions of sustainable development have initially rested on three dimensions: the economic, the environmental and the social. The chapter also explores UNESCO, the United Nations (UN) System and the role of other conventions that are linked to the World Heritage Convention in conservation and sustainable development.