Preservation of documentary heritage to be discussed in Mexico this week

The UNESCO Memory of the World Regional Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean (MOWLAC) will meet at the Palafoxiana Library in Puebla, Mexico, from 15 to 17 October 2014. This international meeting is a result of the successful collaboration between the Government of the State of Puebla and the UNESCO Office in Mexico.

The three-day event will be complemented with lectures by leading national and international experts on the preservation of documentary heritage in Mexico and the international value of the Palafoxiana Library. A session will also be held to discuss the Programme’s new submissions at regional level.

To proceed with the annual selection of documents, or sets of documents, from archives, libraries, audiovisual collections to be enrolled in the 2014 Memory of the World Register for Latin America and the Caribbean, MOWLAC members and expert partners will hold a private session in the afternoon of 16 October.

Ms Nuria Sanz, Director of the UNESCO Office in Mexico, said on that occasion, “Documentary heritage is a social resource and a permanent source of knowledge. The international academic community of experts in Latin America should be further supported institutionally in their work."

This year MOWLAC has received a total of 23 nominations from 11 countries in the region, namely from: Barbados, Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, St Kitts, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela. Dr Boyan Radoykov, Chief of the Section for Universal Access and Preservation, Knowledge Societies Division, UNESCO, underscores that "this is an unprecedented number which confirms the great importance the Latin American and Caribbean region gives to the preservation of, and the access to, its documentary heritage and confirms the great value of the Memory of the World Programme, whose main objectives will also result in the first-ever international normative instrument covering these important issues, which is currently in the process of elaboration by UNESCO".

A new publication, in Spanish, will be launched at the meeting. It is entitled Proteger y promover el Conocimiento Global Registrado (Protect and promote the Registered Global Knowledge).

UNESCO launched the Memory of the World Programme in 1992 to guard against collective amnesia calling upon the preservation of the valuable archive holdings and library collections all over the world ensuring their wide dissemination. The Programme is intended to protect documentary heritage, and helps networks of experts to exchange information and raise resources for preservation of, and access to, documentary materials.