Building peace in the minds of men and women

World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

27 October

Audiovisual archives tell us stories about people’s lives and cultures from all over the world. They represent a priceless heritage which is an affirmation of our collective memory and a valuable source of knowledge since they reflect the cultural, social and linguistic diversity of our communities. They help us grow and comprehend the world we all share. Conserving this heritage and ensuring it remains accessible to the public and future generations is a vital goal for all memory institutions as well as the public at large. The UNESCO Archives has launched the project ‘Digitizing our shared UNESCO history with this very goal in mind.

The World Day for Audiovisual Heritage (WDAH) is a commemoration of the adoption, in 1980 by the 21st General Conference, of the Recommendation for the Safeguarding and Preservation of Moving Images. The World Day provides an occasion to raise general awareness of the need to take urgent measures and to acknowledge the importance of audiovisual documents.

In this way, the World Day also serves as an opportunity for UNESCO’s Member States to evaluate their performance with respect to implementing the 2015 Recommendation Concerning the Preservation of, and Access to, Documentary Heritage, Including in Digital Form.

The WDAH fulfils UNESCO’s constitutional mandate to promote the "free flow of ideas by word and image" as a representation of our shared heritage and memory.  In so doing, the Day highlights the role of heritage in building the defenses of peace in people’s minds.


"The World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, which this year seeks to “Engage with the Past  through  Sound  and  Images”,  is  an  occasion  to  remember  the  importance  of  audiovisual materials for connecting with our history and understanding who we are today.  The  past  century  was  marked  by  unprecedented  human  development  and world-shaping  events.  We  must  ensure  its  lessons  are  transmitted  to  future  generations."

— Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO
on the occasion of the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage 2019


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WDAH's celebrations in 2019

This year the theme of the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage is "Engage the Past Through Sound and Images".

Our collective histories are often captured on film, video, audio or digital formats, and through these, we engage to learn about the past and to share our own histories with future generations. Increasingly recordings serve as our memories and tell the stories that constitute our cultural heritage. In recognition of the preservation efforts of the thousands of archivists, librarians and caretakers around the world who care for these valuable collections, this year’s World Day for Audiovisual Heritage again celebrates their dedication and expertise. Without the knowledge and devotion that is required to preserve, digitize and provide access, large portions of our cultural heritage would disappear to be lost forever.