World Heritage Day 2021: Theme, history and its significance
World Heritage Day, also known as International Day for Monuments and Sites, is being observed on Sunday. The day is dedicated to the conservation and promotion of cultural heritage through various activities undertaken by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). To mark World Heritage Day, various programmes and tours are organised by heritage sites. People can also take part in seminars or group discussions on heritage-related topics.
In 1982, ICOMOS suggested United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) that April 18 should be celebrated as the International Day for Monuments and Sites. Unesco approved the proposal during the 22nd General Conference in 1983.
According to ICOMOS, the “essential aspect is to mark this day so that it becomes not only a day to celebrate your National Heritage but also a day of International Solidarity in favour of strengthening and safeguarding Heritage worldwide.”
This year, Unesco has decided on “Complex Pasts: Diverse Futures” as the theme for World Heritage Day celebrations. "The conservation of cultural heritage requires careful examination of the past, and its practice demands provision for the future," the world body said on its website.
The day is observed to raise awareness about the cultural heritage that we see around us. It is also aimed at promoting historical monuments and sites through which we can actually preserve the cultural integrity of a community as well. "Deterioration or disappearance of any item of the cultural or natural heritage constitutes a harmful impoverishment of the heritage of all the nations of the world," the World Heritage Convention (1972) stated. "Together with ICOMOS, the UNESCO World Heritage Centre supports inclusive and diverse points of view in heritage identification, conservation and transmission to future generations," it also said on its site.
As the day is being observed amid the Covid-19 crisis, it has invited people to participate in the celebrations by visiting Unesco World Heritage sites virtually through the online exhibits on Google Arts & Culture.