‘World Heritage Day’  (On 18 April 2020)

Theme for for the year 2020: 
‘Shared Culture’, ‘Shared heritage’ and ‘Shared responsibility’


Every year 18th April is celebrated as ‘International Day for Monuments and Sites’ which is also called as ‘World Heritage Day’  with different types of activities including visits to monuments and heritage sites,conferences,round tables and newspaper articles. Purpose of celebrating ‘World heritage Day’ is to raise public awareness on importance of diversity of cultural heritage and preserving these heritage for the generations ahead and the efforts required to protect and conserve it. Ancient monuments & sites are an asset to us that help us understand our history and the root of our culture for generations to come.


History of World Heritage Day

The International Council for Monuments & Sites (ICOMOS) is a non-governmental organization that works on preserving and conserving heritage sites worldwide.On April 18,1982, The International Council for Monuments & Sites (ICOMOS) had organized a symposium and put forth a proposal for a worldwide celebration of ‘International day for Monuments and Sites’. This was later approved by UNESCO General Conference in it’s 22nd session on November 1983 declaring 18th April as’ International day for Monuments and Sites’. As a result hundreds of experts from different field like architects, geographers, engineers, archaeologists etc. saw the need to protect these heritage locations and came forward to help in restoring these monuments.

Objective of World Heritage Day

UNESCO defines a World Heritage site as a “natural or man-made area or a structure that is of international importance, and space which requires special protection”. The main objective of celebrating this event is to preserve the heritage of the three categories i.e, natural, cultural and mixed for the next generation and put its relevant efforts in front of the world. Today, there are a grand total of 1,121 UNESCO World Heritage Sites worldwide, of which 869 are cultural, 213 are natural and 39 are a mixture. 53 of these are in danger. India has a total of 35 world heritage sites, of which 27 are cultural,7 natural & one mixed site.


Theme of World Heritage Day 2020

Every Year ICOMOS proposes a theme for celebrating the ‘World Heritage Day’ like the theme for 2019 World Heritage Day was ‘Rural landscapes’.
 The theme for World Heritage Day for the year 2020 is ‘Shared Culture’, ‘Shared heritage’ and ‘Shared responsibility’, which is important as an expression for global unity with current world wide health crisis. The theme for ‘Shared Cultures, Shared Heritage, Shared Responsibility’, reflects the global context of heritage as part of cultural identity at a time of rapid population shift, conflict, and environmental uncertainty. The theme recognises that heritage whether it is a place, landscapes, practices, or collections, is frequently connected with and valued by multiple and diverse groups and communities.


We have all seen in history that some cultures & societies had shared common cultural practices wherein some were forced upon the people, resisted by people. While some culture & beliefs were closely guarded

and shared (e.g.in many indigenous culture). While some of the heritage pieces were either destroyed or damaged to the extent that it cannot be shared (e.g. the Buddhas of Bamiyan).Thus ICOMOS by adopting the theme ‘Shared Cultures, Shared Heritage, Shared Responsibility’ invites the participants to explore the idea of sharing  its counterpoints, contestation and resistance in relation to cultures, heritage and responsibility. It invites reviews of traditional thinking on the topic and seeks new and diverse perspectives and insights that encourage discussion and dialogue.


The theme of ‘Shared Cultures, Shared Heritage, Shared Responsibility’ is also the theme for the ICOMOS 20th General Assembly and Scientific Symposium (GA2020) that will take place in Sydney, Australia from 1-10 October 2020.