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

International Mother Language Day

Preserving and celebrating languages is a core part of wider efforts to safeguard and develop our tangible and intangible heritage. On 21 February we celebrate International Mother Language Day, a celebration of all the languages around the world.

21 February 2019 | Cultural heritage, International Mother Language Day, indigenous, minority, Cultural heritage, Language, UNESCO

Listen, Hear Our Voices: Preserving and Valuing Indigenous Languages and Cultures

Preserving and celebrating culture can be key to efforts to promote cohesion and cooperation in diverse societies. This is no truer than in the case of indigenous communities, who have historically been isolated or persecuted, but now, rightfully, demand equality.

28 January 2019 | Indigenous Matters, Cultural heritage, Digital preservation, Indigenous People, Canada, International Year of Indigenous Languages, IYIL 2019

IFLA Celebrates the International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019

2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Lanaguges. It provides a great opportunity to highlight the work that libraries are doing to support and promote languages, and the communities that speak them.

17 January 2019 | Indigenous Matters, Cultural heritage, Indigenous People, Multicultural populations, IYIL 2019, International Year of Indigenous Languages, indigenous languages