Culture and nature

Preserving cultural and natural heritage - promoting diversity and sustainability

Cultural and natural heritage sites, cultural landscapes, skills, knowledge, traditions and documents reflect the wealth of human life and experiences. 

They provide an understanding of our history and connect people across borders. Artists often build on the diversity of heritage when developing cultural expressions.  Heritage is a source of identity, dignity and diversity. It contributes to sustainability and peace.

Using heritage for shaping the future

UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Biosphere Reserves, Geoparks, forms of Intangible Cultural Heritage and documents in the UNESCO "Memory of the World" register are testimonies to history and the foundation for our future. UNESCO aims at preserving heritage, at using it for intercultural dialogue and global partnership and shaping the future. 

As the only organization worldwide, UNESCO combines the preservation of cultural and natural heritage with the global commons, sustainable development and contemporary artistic and cultural expressions. With its comprehensive understanding of heritage, innovative concepts for learning, protection and use, strong political advocacy and a unique network of partners in science, civil society, politics and practice, it strengthens cultural and biological diversity worldwide.

Our contribution

As one of 199 National Commissions for UNESCO, the German Commission for UNESCO is committed to the preservation and sustainable use of human heritage and the promotion of cultural diversity. It contributes to the implementation of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, the Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage, the UNESCO Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and the UNESCO programmes Memory of the World, "Man and the Biosphere" and Geoparks. Supporting the nomination and evaluation of sites, documents and cultural forms is among the Commissions tasks. The German Commission for UNESCO promotes expert dialogues, connects actors in Germany and beyond, supports negotiations in UNESCO bodies and promotes a comprehensive understanding of heritage.

Culture and nature

World Heritage

1,073 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 167 countries worldwide make the history of mankind and of the planet tangible. 42 of them are located in Germany. World Heritage Sites are witnesses of past cultures, artistic masterpieces and unique natural landscapes.
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Der traditionelle Tanz "Taskiwin" in Marokko

Culture and nature

Intangible Cultural Heritage

Cooperatives in Germany, yoga in India or rumba from Cuba - they all belong to the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO. More than 390 forms of intangible cultural heritage are listed on the Representative List of UNESCO, over 70 on the German Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
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Culture and nature

Memory of the World

The Göttingen Gutenberg Bible, the archives of the Warsaw Ghetto, the colonial archives of Benin, Senegal and Tanzania, the collection of indigenous languages in Mexico or the Benz patent as birth certificate of the automobile of 1886 - they all are documentary testimonies of extraordinary value for the history of mankind.
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Culture and nature

Geoparks

UNESCO Global Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development, focussing both on residents and visitors.
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Culture and nature

Biosphere Reserves

UNESCO biosphere reserves are model regions for sustainable development. They strike a balance between the interests of environmental protection and social and economic development.
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