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

UNESCO Session at WLIC 2017

UNESCO is a key partner for IFLA, given its involvement in many of the areas where libraries are most active – literacy, information literacy, culture, Internet governance, and of course safeguarding cultural heritage. The UNESCO session at WLIC 2017 focused on three areas where engagement is bringing benefits for libraries.

21 August 2017

Preserving Everyone’s Heritage – IFLA Holds Workshop on Palm Leaf Manuscript Preservation

While tools and standards for preservation are advanced for materials like books, this is not the case everywhere. As a result, when a community’s cultural heritage is on other materials, such as palm leaf manuscripts, it is harder for libraries, both individually and as a network, to pursue their public interest missions. A workshop organised by IFLA in Sri Lanka on 6-7 July started moves to address this problem.

27 July 2017

Culture and the SDGs - Culture Summit 2017

Governing Board Member Ngian Lek Choh represented IFLA at the 2nd UCLG Culture Summit in Jeju, Korea from 10-12 May.

12 May 2017 | Cultural heritage, Development, Libraries, Development and the UN 2030 Agenda, Korea, Republic of, UN 2030 Agenda, UN SDGs, UNESCO