In 1992, UNESCO launched the Memory of the World Programme to support the preservation and the sharing of humanity’s documentary heritage – guided by the vision that the world's documentary heritage belongs to all, it should be preserved for all, protected for all, and accessible to all, for the sake of mutual understanding, respect and dialogue.
In this spirit, the Memory of the World Programme is designed to help protect documentary heritage and networks of experts to exchange information and raise resources for preservation of and access to documentary material.
Every two years, UNESCO welcomes the submission of nomination proposals for inscription on the Memory of the World International Register. These nominations must be submitted by 31 March 2014, for a final decision in June/July 2015. This year, UNESCO’s Memory of the World Secretariat received altogether 98 submissions. Any submission sent after this deadline will be admissible for the 2016/2017 selection exercise only.
All applications received by the 31 March 2014 deadline will be processed according to the Programme’s procedures and in accordance with the selection criteria listed in the General Guidelines to Safeguard Documentary Heritage.
It is worth noting that nominations for the Memory of the World Register may be submitted by any person or organization, including governments and NGOs. However, priority is given to nominations made by or through the relevant regional or national Memory of the World Committees or through the National Commissions for UNESCO. The nominations received this year will be posted on the Memory of the World Programme’s website by late July 2014.
The process from application to inscription is extensive, starting with assessment for inscription on the MoW Register determined by the Register Sub-committee and the International Advisory Committee (IAC), whose recommendations are then forwarded to the Director-General of UNESCO for final decision. The official announcement on the inscription of nominations received by 31 March 2014 will be made in June-July next year.
The IAC is the peak body responsible for advising UNESCO on the planning and implementation of the MOW Programme and conducts the assessment of the nomination proposals. It comprises 14 members serving in a personal capacity, appointed by the Director-General of UNESCO, and chosen for their authority in the field of the safeguarding of documentary heritage. The Director-General convenes the IAC in ordinary session every two years.