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

IFLA Statement on UNESCO: Education, Science and Culture: Shared Objectives Need Shared Efforts

On 16 October 2017, following the announcement by the governments of the United States and Israel of their intention to leave UNESCO, IFLA released a statement calling for rapid progress towards a positive solution.

16 October 2017 | Preservation, culture, UNESCO

International Solutions for Safeguarding Documentary Heritage in Latin America

The importance of preserving cultural heritage is global. All cultures and groups create works that tell the story of their past and present in ways which can both inspire and inform future generations. By acting globally – bringing together experts from different countries and with different specialisations – IFLA can help national actors achieve their goals more effectively. A conference co-organised by IFLA's Rare Books and Special Collections Section contributed to make this happen.

10 October 2017 | Rare Books and Special Collections, Argentina, rare books, Bibliography, Preservation

Ayudemos a Reconstruir las Bibliotecas, Ayudemos a la Recuperación de las Comunidades

A statement by Gerald Leitner, IFLA Secretary General, on the recent disasters in the Caribbean region.

27 September 2017 | Latin America and the Caribbean, Disaster reconstruction, Disaster relief