Cultural heritage

Heritage is the cultural legacy which we receive from the past, which we live in the present and which we will pass on to future generations. With the 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, UNESCO established that certain places on Earth have "exceptional universal value" and belong to humanity’s common heritage, such as the Serengeti Forest in East Africa, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America.

Nonetheless, cultural heritage is not limited to monuments and collections of objects. It is also comprised of living expressions inherited from our ancestors, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social manners, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices related to nature and the universe, and knowledge and techniques linked to traditional crafts. Despite its fragility, intangible cultural heritage or living heritage is an important factor in maintaining cultural diversity.

For UNESCO Santiago, the notion of heritage is important for culture and the future because it constitutes the “cultural potential” of contemporary societies, contributes to the continuous revaluation of cultures and identities and is an important vehicle for the transmission of experiences, skills and knowledge between generations. Furthermore, heritage is a source of inspiration for creativity and innovation that generate contemporary and future cultural products. Cultural heritage has the potential to promote access to and enjoyment of cultural diversity. It can also enrich social capital and create a sense of individual and collective belonging, which helps to maintain social and territorial cohesion. On the other hand, cultural heritage has become economically significant for the tourism sector in many countries. This also creates new challenges for its conservation.

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Projects

Contacts at UNESCO Santiago

Ms. Alejandra Szczepaniak
Culture coordinator
Mr. Nicolás Rojas Inostroza
Culture consultant