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Culture

Cultural development: Heritage and diversity  

Culture

UNESCO’s aim is to protect and maintain tangible and intangible cultural heritage throughout the world while also promoting the diversity of forms of cultural expression and creativity.

Protecting and promoting cultural diversity: Maintaining and promoting cultural diversity is enshrined in UNESCO’s Constitution as the purpose and core task of UNESCO. The “Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions” creates a mandatory basis for the right of all countries to independent cultural policies according to international law. The primary aim is to foster an environment in which artistic and cultural diversity can develop freely and is protected from purely economic utilitarianism.

Maintaining tangible world heritage: The international community has signed numerous treaties to protect and maintain tangible heritage throughout the world.  The UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage is the world’s most significant tool, agreed upon by the international community, to ensure the protection of cultural and natural heritage. Its aim is to help protect and sustainably preserve cultural and natural landmarks of outstanding universal value. Additional treaties: The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, the UNESCO Convention on the Illegal Trade of Cultural Property.

Protecting intangible cultural heritage: Intangible cultural heritage is a fundamental component of cultural heritage. UNESCO defines intangible cultural heritage as living traditions, a source of cultural diversity and a solid basis for sustainable development. It comprises the following five areas: Oral traditions and forms of expression, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festivals, knowledge and practices relating to nature and the universe as well as traditional crafting techniques. 

Diversity of cultural expressions
Freedom of art and culture

The “Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions” creates a mandatory basis for the right of all countries to independent cultural policies according to international law.

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World Heritage
Cultural and natural heritage sites of outstanding universal value

In 1972, the international community passed the World Heritage Convention. To date, 1,073 cultural and natural heritage sites from 167 countries across all continents have met the requirements for acceptance onto the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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Intangible cultural heritage
Traditions, knoweldge, craftsmanship techniques

In addition to tangible heritage, the “Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage” highlights the significance of community traditions and practices that have previously been hidden.

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Protecting cultural property
Protecting endangered cultural property

Cultural property includes property, constructions or places that are of great significance to the cultural heritage of humanity. The targeted destruction of cultural property through armed conflict, illegal excavation on archeological sites, the plundering of cultural sites and the theft of works of art from churches and museums worldwide threatens the scientific indexing, maintenance and general access to our shared cultural heritage.

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