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When, cultural differences and traditions notwithstanding, States agree to common rules, they can draw up an international instrument: an agreement or convention, which are legally binding, a recommendation or a declaration. 

UNESCO participates in this effort through its standard-setting action, serving as a central forum for coordinating the ethical, normative and intellectual issues of our time, fostering multidisciplinary exchange and mutual understanding, working – where possible and desirable – towards universal agreements on these issues, defining benchmarks and mobilizing international opinion.  

Other organisations, for example ICOMOS, also participate in this activity.  In this section, you will find both UNESCO and non-UNESCO legal instruments drawn up to address issues in cultural heritage.


Most important conventions and declarations adopted by UNESCO's member states.



Instruments adopted at the regional level (Asia-Pacific and Europe)



ICOMOS Charters and other instruments.



Declarations, charters, and legislations on cultural heritage and conservation at the national level.