Heritage, encompasses tangible and intangible, natural and cultural, movable and immovable and documentary assets inherited from the past and transmitted to future generations by virtue of their irreplaceable value. The term ‘heritage’ has evolved considerably over time. Initially referring exclusively to the monumental remains of cultures, the concept of heritage has gradually been expanded to embrace living culture and contemporary expressions.
As a source of identity, heritage is a valuable factor for empowering local communities and enabling vulnerable groups to participate fully in social and cultural life. It can also provide time-tested solutions for conflict prevention and reconciliation.
Through a complete set of Conventions concerning heritage, UNESCO offer a unique platform for international cooperation and dialogue, fostering mutual respect, appreciation and understanding. These legal instruments support the development of national policies for heritage protection, with an emphasis on preservation, management and training.
Natural and cultural heritage sites, museums, libraries and archive collections around the world are increasingly becoming the collateral victims of natural disasters and armed conflicts. The upsurge in wilful destruction of heritage, whether in Afghanistan, the Middle East or Africa, over the past decade demonstrates UNESCO’s enduring relevance in leading international efforts to prevent the pillage and illicit trafficking of cultural property.
Globally, the citizens celebrate their cultural heritage every day by being their true authentic selves. However, a day that has been designated to celebrate the heritage of the entire human race is World Heritage Day. This day is celebrated on 18 April to raise awareness about preserving the history, diversity, and vulnerability of world heritage sites and monuments. It also aims to recognize the efforts of all relevant organizations in this field. These include architects, engineers, geographers, civil engineers, artists and archaeologists.