SHARED WEALTH OF HUMANKIND
Ancient monuments and buildings in the countries, make them stand tall on world map. They are an asset to value for! and that’s why, World Heritage Day is a collective effort of the communities in the world to do the needful for these invaluable assets. The World Heritage Day takes an opportunity to hoist awareness about the assortment of cultural legacy and the efforts that are required to protect and conserve them and to think about their susceptibility also. Every year on 18 April, UNESCO celebrates the World Heritage Day, whose establishment was approved by the 22nd UNESCO General Conference in 1983. World Heritage is the shared wealth of humankind and protecting and preserving these amazing places demands the collective efforts of all of us.
Therefore, every year on the 18th of April,World Heritage Day offers an opportunity to raise people’s awareness about the diversity of cultural and natural heritage we have across the world, and the efforts that are required to look after it. Put simply, it is an opportunity to shout about how fantastic our World Heritage is.
HISTORY OF WORLD HERITAGE DAY
However, the first and possibly most confusing part of World Heritage Day is that actually World Heritage isn’t its formal name. What is popularly known as World Heritage Day is the ‘International Day for Monument and Sites’ which was established in 1982 by the International Council for Monuments and Sites, or ICOMOS. This organization was established on the principles set forth in the Venice Charter, known as the 1964 International Charter on the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites.
After a need was identified to protect the valued locations, ICOMOS interestingly, organised a symposium in Tunisia on 18 April 1982 aud it saw the coming together of experts from hundreds of related fields. These include architects, engineers, geographers, civil engineers, and artists and archaeologists. They all suggested that a special day is to be celebrated all through the world in the name of “International Day for Monuments and Sites” on the same day every year.The idea was then also approved in UNESCO’s General Conference in November 1983. After that from each year the organization work to help ensure that some of the world’s most beautiful sites and important cultural monuments remain preserved for future generations. Since its inception it has grown to include almost 10,000 members in over 150 countries all over the world. Of these 10,000 members over 400 are members from institutions, national committees, and international scientific committees, all working together to save important sites and identify new ones that need to be added to the watch list.
THIS YEAR’S THEME
As the day, encourage local communities and individuals throughout the world to consider the importance of cultural heritage to their lives, identities and communities, and to promote awareness of its diversity and vulnerability and the efforts required to protect and conserve it; the day each year has a theme, but however many simply choose to use the day to raise awareness. The 2018 theme for the ICOMOS International Day for Monuments and Sites is Heritage for Generations led by the ICOMOS Emerging Professionals Working Group. Sharing stories and the transfer of knowledge between generations is a crucial step in cultural development, characterising the human experience since time immemorial.
WORLD HERITAGE IN INDIA
India is one country that has been ruled by leaders from different religious and cultural backgrounds, like Aryans, Guptas, Mughals, Britishers, etc. And all of them have left their marks on the Indian soil, in the form of monuments and sites, that are protected and resurrected till date. World Heritage Day therefore, has an important part to play in this colourful land, where you can find huge tombs sprawling over the land, towers that are so high that one can feel the sky and sites so beautiful that keeps you mesmerized. India has all of it and to maintain these monuments and keep them alive for our upcoming generations, this day is every year celebrated to spread awareness among the visitors to protect these priceless monuments.
HOW TO CELEBRATE WORLD HERITAGE DAY
ICOMOS, the International Council for Monuments and Sites makes several suggestions on how to celebrate the World Heritage Day.
■ Perhaps the most important way to celebrate World Heritage Day is to search out those locations near you that count as World Heritage Sites, and perhaps pay them a visit.
■ Before doing so research the site and find out what steps are needed to protect it and respect them during your visit.
■ Also, if you’re feeling more proactive, then perhaps consider submitting a site that you feel is worthy of being protected for its cultural importance to ICOMOS.
■ Then, organising discussions in culturalcentres, city halls, and other public spaces and, awarding prizes to organisations or persons who have made an outstanding contribution to the conservation and promotion of cultural heritage or produced an excellent publication on the subject.
■ Don’t let an important site disappear from the world, do your part on World Heritage Day to raise awareness and preserve it for future generations.