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

Protecting Cultural Property - The Hague Convention and its two Protocols

Last week IFLA attended the International Conference on the 20th anniversary of the 1999 Second Protocol to the 1954 Hague Convention hosted by UNESCO in Geneva, Switzerland. The Conference brought together States representatives, experts, academics and civil society representatives to share achievements and challenges facing the implementation of the Protocol and in protecting cultural heritage against the threats by conflict or disaster.

8 May 2019 | Cultural heritage, PAC, Preservation and Conservation, UNESCO, culture heritage, Disaster risk

Libraries and Cultural Diversity: Preserving Heritage, Promoting Dialogue

IFLA has submitted comments to the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights on the subject of cultural diversity and human rights. With a responsibility to preserve the heritage of all of our communities, to facilitate access to information, and as defenders of free speech, libraries have much to contribute.

27 April 2019 | PAC (Preservation and Conservation), Cultural heritage, Cultural Diversity, OHCHR, Multicultural Populations

Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, Becomes World Book Capital

The title of World Book Capital has passed from Athens, Greece, to Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. IFLA President Glòria Pérez-Salmerón and Secretary-General Gerald Leitner are representing libraries at the event.

23 April 2019 | PAC (Preservation and Conservation), Access to information, United Arab Emirates, UNESCO World Book Capital, Literacy and reading