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

Syrian experts attend workshop at the PAC Regional Centre for Asia

The PAC Regional Centre for Asia at the National Diet Library (NDL) of Japan is one of the sixteen IFLA PAC Centres that are spread all over the globe. The PAC Centres have a wide range of expertise concerning preservation and conservation as well as safeguarding cultural heritage. The PAC Regional Centre for Asia is specialised in paper conservation and digitization, it was this expertise that was shared with experts from Syria.

20 June 2018 | PAC (Preservation and Conservation), Preservation, Japan

IFLA Welcomes Steps Toward Better Rules for Cultural Heritage Imports into the European Union

New draft European Union legislation looks to make it more difficult to import stolen or looted cultural goods. IFLA has welcomed these steps, and proposed amendments which will ensure that the new rules work as well for documentary heritage as for other types of heritage.

23 April 2018 | Preservation and Conservation, Cultural heritage, Europe, Heritage, trafficking

IFLA Congratulates New Senior Staff at UNESCO

As the leading UN institution working on education, science and culture, UNESCO is a key partner for libraries. IFLA already engages with the institution across a wide variety of issues, from cultural heritage at risk to Internet universality. The announcement of four new senior appointments in key sectors – in education, culture and communications and information, as well as a new Deputy Director-General – is therefore a useful opportunity to reaffirm these relationships.

12 April 2018 | PAC (Preservation and Conservation), Education, Information literacy, Preservation, UNESCO