Sunday is a special day to promote the knowledge and protection of cultural heritage all over the world.
18 April marks the International Day for Monuments and Sites, established in 1982 by the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), approved by the UNESCO General Conference the following year and also known as World Heritage Day. This annual event invites local communities and individuals from all over the world to know the extraordinary richness and diversity of our cultural heritage and to understand its importance for our identity and our lives. Furthermore, it intends to raise awareness about the fragility of cultural heritage and the urgent need to protect it through our collective commitment.
Every year ICOMOS proposes a theme to be followed for the initiatives organized by its members, by national and international committees and by everybody who is willing to celebrate this day. The theme chosen for the 2021 edition is “Complex Pasts, Diverse Futures”. The organization invites to focus on contested and complex narratives related to cultural heritage, with the aim of promoting the elaboration of new discourses, based on an approach that is as respectful and inclusive as possible. Addressing distorted or controversial interpretations of the past appears essential to protect our heritage, being aware that the deterioration or disappearance of any cultural item represent a damage to humanity as a whole, as affirmed by the UNESCO 1954 and 1972 conventions.
Even this year, due to the pandemic persistence, most of the initiatives will be held online and will be accessible through ICOMOS social media platforms. The International Day for Monuments and Sites is also an occasion to remember that culture has never stopped, despite the global emergency. World Heritage sites all over the world have been deeply affected by the closures imposed by the pandemic; nonetheless, site managers have increased online activities, sharing their experience through the “Share Our Heritage” campaign, launched by UNESCO to support the access to culture during the periods of mass confinement. Such activities have offered the public the chance of staying in touch with cultural heritage, finding in it a source of strength to face these hard times and to look to the future with hope.
More information on icomos.org