In today’s context, threats to heritage sites posed by armed conflicts are prevalent. This article argues for an urgently needed framework, based on authoritative heritage policy documents, to guide sustainable reconciliation in such circumstances. The methodological approach proposed derives from a content analysis strategy that investigated a selected list of documents. Key extractions are then synthesised to develop useful recommendations for sustainable post-conflict reconciliation in heritage contexts. This conceptual framework also helps to achieve the potential re-nomination of any reconstructed sites which, in turn, provides both additional robust protection of heritage values, and supports sustainable development. This article presents the first part of a broader research study and is intended to communicate the results to a multi-faceted international audience including stakeholders, along with policy and decision makers in the world heritage field. The application of the proposed framework to the world heritage cities of Damascus and Aleppo is the subject of the second part of this research and is presented in a subsequent paper in this special issue of the journal Sustainability.