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.

WDAH's celebrations in 2020

This year the theme of the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage is "Your Window to the World".  Audiovisual materials as documentary heritage objects provide a window to the world as we observe events we cannot attend, we hear voices from the past who can no longer speak, and we craft stories that inform and entertain. Audiovisual content plays an increasingly vital role in our lives as we seek to understand the world and engage with our fellow beings.