UNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL, SCIENTIFIC
AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATION
UNESCO, founded in Paris on 4th November 1945, is a United Nations organisation which deals with culture, education, sciences, and the arts.
With its headquarters in Paris, UNESCO currently has 165 member states.
UNESCO has two basic objectives: to promote the dialogue between the cultures of the member states and develop them, and to preserve the cultural and natural heritage of humanity.
The former objective is extremely significant in the organisation’s activities, as the body itself was built on the conviction that only constant intercultural dialogue and development of culture, arts, sciences and education systems can encourage cooperation between nations, understanding between populations economic progress, social justice and world peace. UNESCO pursues the latter goal by identifying, protecting, safeguarding and transmitting the world’s cultural and natural assets to future generations. Based on an international treaty (the 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage) UNESCO has recognised by now 1073 world heritage sites (832 cultural, 206 natural and 35 mixed properties) in 167 countries. According to the Convention, cultural heritage means a monument, a group of buildings or a site of historical, aesthetic, archaeological, scientific, ethnological or anthropological value. Natural heritage, on the other hand, indicates physical, biological, and geological features, in addition to the habitat of threatened species of animals and plants and areas of outstanding universal value from the aesthetic or scientific point of view.
Heritage represents the inheritance of the past that we all benefit from and transmit to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritages are an irreplaceable source of life and inspiration. Unique and diverse places such as the wild stretches of the Serengeti National Park in Eastern Africa, the Pyramids in Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin American make up our World Heritage. It is the universal application that makes the concept of World Heritage truly exceptional. World Heritage Sites belong to the population of the world, beyond the borders where they are located.