Building peace in the minds of men and women

Call to service providers in the field of surveying and documentation of cultural heritage

09 July 2019

In recent years, UNESCO has been confronted with a number of emergency situations affecting cultural heritage resources, as a result of armed conflict and/or natural disasters. In responding to such situations, one of the most significant challenges faced by the Organization is the lack of proper documentation of the affected cultural properties, both before and after the emergencies. Good documentation of cultural heritage, moreover, is essential not just in relation to sudden events, but also as a basis for day-to-day management against long-term phenomena such as: urbanization and climate change, and to prepare for possible crises.

Recent developments have demonstrated the great potential of digital technologies for acquiring data and developing related outputs (including, but not limited to: 3D virtual models, ortho-photographs, isoline maps, vectoral plans, elevations, cross-sections, point clouds and cadastral maps) of cultural assets in general, but especially in remote and insecure areas of difficult access. Such technologies, complemented by satellite imagery, on-the-ground observations and measurements, traditional maps and photographic material, are able to provide the necessary baseline data that is required for planning emergency interventions in case of need, for long-term monitoring and as a support to educational and awareness-raising initiatives. 

For these reasons, in recent years, UNESCO surveyed and documented cultural heritage in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen, among other countries in emergency situations. In the future, it is expected that UNESCO will need to carry out similar activities with increased frequency. 

UNESCO has launched a Call to service providers in the field of cultural heritage surveys and documentation interested in reviewing the request for information [accessible here]. The Call is open until 26 July 2019.