Preserving cultural heritage for the future
IFLA works to enable libraries to play their vital role in safeguarding cultural heritage, ensuring it continues to inform and inspire people and communities for generations to come.
We have a strong community of experts driving forwards preservation practice through exchange, research, standards development and learning opportunities.
We also support our members globally in their work to ensure that the funding structures, legal measures, programmes and tools are in place to allow heritage organisations to carry out their missions.
Internationally, IFLA works to advocate for meaningful and supportive provisions of cultural heritage policy and to raise awareness of the importance of preservation and access.
IFLA has a long and close relationship with UNESCO. We promote engagement in UNESCO National Commissions, provide access to key evidence and resources, and offer advice and other support.
Our collaboration ranges from initiatives such as the Memory of the World, Information for All Programme, and World Book Capital City programmes, to the Conventions of the UNESCO Cultural Sector and foundational documents such as the 1954 Hague Convention and 1970 Illicit Trafficking Conventions.
Other activities include the UNESCO PERSIST Project for the long-term preservation of digital heritage, and efforts to implement the 2015 UNESCO Recommendation on Safeguarding Documentary Heritage Implementation – see our Checklist.
Outside of UNESCO, IFLA also partners with organisations in the monuments and sites, archives, and museums sectors to coordinate and strengthen advocacy activities.
This work allows IFLA and its partners to identify opportunities and to have a strong voice at local, regional and global levels to support effective heritage preservation and access.
Find out more about specific areas of our work around safeguarding cultural heritage:
- IFLA Risk Register: IFLA’s confidential register helps secure the safety of the world’s documentary heritage.
- IFLA and the Blue Shield: Learn about how IFLA works with partners to help safeguard heritage.
- IFLA Principles of Engagement: These principles provide guidance on how to monitor areas at risk, advocate for, and raise awareness about disaster prevention.
- Theft and Illicit Trafficking: Find out more about IFLA’s work combatting the illicit trafficking of documentary heritage.
- Preservation and Conservation Centres: see the dedicated page to learn about their activities and areas of expertise.
- PERSIST Guidelines for the Selection of Digital Heritage for Long-Term Preservation: Access this resource for practitioners and decision-makers in memory institutions.