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Features of the UNESCO Cultural Heritage Programs


World Cultural Heritage

Intangible Cultural Heritage

Memory of the World


-          Cultural heritage: monuments, group of buildings and sites

-          Natural heritage: natural features, geological and physiographical formations, and natural sites

-          Intangible cultural heritage: practices, representations, expressions, knowledge and skills (as well as the instruments, objects, artifacts and cultural spaces associated therewith)

-          Documentary heritage: moveable, made up of signs/codes, sounds/images, preservable, reproducible and migratable, and the product of a deliberate documenting process


Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (adopted in 1972)

Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (adopted in 2003)

Recommendation concerning the Preservation of, Access to, Documentary Heritage including in Digital Form (adopted in 2015)


-          Natural properties

-          Cultural properties

-          Mixed properties

-          WH in danger

        Representative of ICH

-          ICH In need of Urgent Safeguarding

-          Programmes, projects and activities for safeguarding of ICH

-          MOW international register


Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (updated in 2008)

Operational Directives for the Implementation of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (updated in 2010)

General Guidelines to Safeguard Documentary Heritage (2002)


Universal Value

Communities and groups - their interaction with nature and their history

World significant


-          Encourage countries to sign the Convention

-          Encourage States Parties to the Convention to nominate sites

-          Encourage States Parties to establish management plan and set up reporting systems

-          Assist States Parties in safeguarding World Heritage sites by providing technical assistance and professional training

-          Provide emergency assistance

-          Support States Parties’ public awareness-building activities

-          Encourage participation of the local population

-          Encourage international cooperation

-          Safeguard the intangible cultural heritage

-          Ensure respect for the intangible cultural heritage of the communities, groups and individuals concerned

-          Raise awareness at the local, national and international levels of the importance of the intangible cultural heritage, and of ensuring mutual appreciation thereof

-          Provide for international cooperation and assistance

-          Facilitate preservation, by the most appropriate techniques, of the world’s documentary heritage

-          Assist universal access to documentary heritage

-          Increase awareness worldwide of the existence and significance of documentary heritage

Structure of the program

-          Committee

-          GA

-          Advisory bodies: IUCN, ICOMOS and ICCROM

-          World Heritage Center (established in 1992)

-          Committee

-          GA

-          Subsidiary bodies

-          Secretariat  (assisted by the UNESCO Secretariat)

-          International Advisory Committee (IAC)

-          Regional Committees: Asia Pacific MOWCAP, Latin America-Caribbean MOWLAC, Africa ARCMOW

-          National Committee

-          Secretariat (provided by the Information Society Division of UNESCO)


-          1959 - 1971: Towards a Convention

-          1972 - 1991: Convention

-          1992 - 2001: 20th Anniversary (World Heritage Center / Global Strategy / Young People’s Participation)

-          2002 - 30th Anniversary (International Congress World Heritage / Budapest Declaration on World Heritage)

-          1946 - 1981: First step 

-          1982 - 2000: from Mondiacult (Mexico) to Our Creative Diversity

-          2000 - Onwards and the drafting of the Convention

-          1992: UNESCO established the program

-          1993: 1st meeting of the International Advisory Committee

-          1995: Memory of the World register


-          World Heritage Fund (established in 1972)

-          Other voluntary contributions

-          Funds-in trust

-          Incomes (from sales of publications)

-          Private donation

-          Int’l fund-raising campaign

-          Fund for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (established in 2003)

-          Other voluntary contributions

-          Funds-in trust

-          Partnership with corporations

-          Int’l fund-raising campaign

-          Memory of the World Fund (in progress)

-          Extra-budgetary incomes (from product sales, royalties)

-          Donations (from governments, donors, and sponsors)