Cultural Heritage

IFLA's work on preserving cultural heritage

1992: Vedran Smailović plays his cello in the destroyed National Library, Sarajevo
Photo: Mikhail Evstafiev

Culture is a basic need.  A community thrives through its cultural heritage, it dies without it.

Cultural heritage consists of tangible and intangible, natural and cultural, movable and immovable assets inherited from the past. It is of extremely high value for the present and the future of communities. Access, preservation, and education around cultural heritage are essential for the evolution of people and their culture.

The preservation and restoration of cultural heritage has always been a priority for IFLA.

It is essential to monitor areas at risk, to advocate for and raise awareness about conflict and disaster prevention. With an increase in cultural heritage being abused for political propaganda and destroyed to serve certain agendas, the protection of cultural heritage has never been more important.

Next to the possible destruction of cultural heritage through war and occupation, the illicit traffic of cultural objects is also a threat to the survival of cultural heritage. In times of upheaval and confusion, cultural heritage can be displaced or illegally sold.

IFLA is working together with UNESCO and the International Committee of the Blue Shield to prevent this from happening and ensure that (physical) cultural heritage remains in safe conditions in their place of origin.

IFLA sets out to monitor disaster areas around the globe and help with preservation as well as reconstruction once disasters (natural and man-made) have happened.

Conservation, Cooperation, Cultural heritage, Preservation

Last update: 13 June 2017

Latest News

Brief on the 2015 UNESCO Recommendation on Safeguarding Documentary Heritage

Around the world collections were suffering a variety of fates: illegal trading, destruction, natural disasters and loss of interest, leaving many at risk of being lost. In 2015 the Recommendation concerning the preservation of, and access to, documentary heritage including in digital form was adopted by UNESCO, giving new momentum to the Memory of the World Programme.

8 November 2018 | UNESCO, Memory of the World, MoW, Cultural heritage, documentary heritage, 2015 Recommendation

IFLA submission for upcoming UN report: 10th anniversary of the mandate in cultural rights

Next year, 2019, will mark as the 10th anniversary of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights. To celebrate, the current Special Rapporteur – Karima Bennoune – has decided to devote her next thematic report to taking stock of the impact of the work of the cultural rights remit, inviting relevant actors to send contributions to inform her study.

7 November 2018 | cultural rights, Cultural heritage, PERSIST, UN, Human rights, copy right, Advocacy

Qatar National Library and UNESCO support Arab Documentary Heritage Preservation

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24 September 2018 | PAC (Preservation and Conservation), Cultural heritage, Qatar, UNESCO, Preservation and Conservation, PAC