Every year, the United Nations marks April 18 as the International Day for Monuments and Sites, in many countries also celebrated as World Heritage Day. The World Heritage Day theme for 2022 is Heritage and Climate.
Globally, the day is promoted by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).
About the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites –
- A World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by UNESCO for its special cultural or physical significance.
- The list of World Heritage Sites is maintained by the international ‘World Heritage Programme’, administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
- This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972.
- Currently, Italy (followed by China) has the most number of UNESCO world heritage sites.
Why World Heritage Day is celebrated?
- ICOMOS in 1982 had decided to celebrate April 18 as the International Day for Monuments and Sites or World Heritage Day. Approved by UNESCO in 1983 during its 22nd General Conference, the day is dedicated to recognising sites of historical importance, raising awareness regarding them, and stressing the need to restore and preserve them.
- The day, thus, promotes cultural importance, while also highlighting the many impediments in doing so.
- Every year, a theme is proposed for the day which guides the celebrations and activities of ICOMOS National and International Scientific Committees and other bodies.
World Heritage Sites in India –
Currently, there are 40 World Heritage Sites located in India. Of these, 32 are ‘cultural’, such as the Ajanta Caves, Fatehpur Sikri, Hampi monuments and the Mountain Railways of India, and 7 are ‘Natural’, including Kaziranga, Manas and Nanda Devi National Parks. One is classified as ‘Mixed’, the Khangchendzonga National Park. The most recent site listed was Dholavira, in 2021.
About ICOMOS –
- ICOMOS is global monument conservation body (non-government organisation) dedicated to promoting the application of theory, methodology and scientific techniques for conservation of architectural and archaeological heritage across the world.
- It is also advisory body to UNESCO for cultural heritage, in particular for implementation of World Heritage Convention.
- It was founded in 1965 in Warsaw (Poland) as a result of the Venice Charter of 1964.
- It is headquartered in Paris, France.