UNESCO – Protecting, preserving and promoting access to the world’s documentary heritage

Heritage Stewardship

Protecting, preserving and promoting access to the world’s documentary heritage
Key challenges
Documentary heritage – from preserving documents in libraries, archives and museums to the software that is driving the digital transformation – is an essential part of humanity’s collective memory. It is a key resource that helps us learn from the past; whether it be contributing to building more equitable, inclusive and sustainable societies or helping us tackle current crises with information on past responses.
Many original and unaltered items and collections are today endangered because of looting and dispersal, illegal trading, deliberate destruction, inadequate storage and a lack of funding.
Moreover, these risks are heightened during times of crisis such as conflicts and natural disasters.
New strategies are thus needed to support and update documentary heritage preservation tools and techniques, and digital preservation should be included as a component in disaster risk reduction strategies. This should also include strengthening the capacities of memory and research institutions to improve their resilience in the face of emergency and crisis situations.

UNESCO aims to: