The Second World War was still in course when the countries fighting Nazi Germany voiced their joint concern about how to reconstruct their education systems once peace returned.

When the conflict ended in 1945 the United Nations held another conference, with some 40 states represented, and they decided to create an organisation to establish the "intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind". This was the start of the United Nations (UN) Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

After decades of political differences among its member states caused by the Cold War, decolonisation and the breaking up of the Soviet Union, it continues its work of encouraging dialogue between civilisations, cultures and peoples based on respect for common values.

UNESCO now has 195 member states - Spain joined in 1973 - and 8 associate members.

Its principal mission is to contribute to the consolidation of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, science, culture, communication and information.

In fulfilling its mission, UNESCO works for the international community in five main functions:

I.   Providing a laboratory for ideas.
II.  Setting up a regulatory body.
III. Becoming a centre for exchange of information.
IV. As a body, developing the capacities of its member states.
V.  Actions to catalyse international collaboration.

1972 Convention

In October 1972 the United Nations General Conference met in Paris for the seventeenth time. It was clear that cultural heritage and natural heritage were increasingly threatened with destruction not only by the traditional causes of decay, but also by changing social and economic conditions: "in view of the magnitude and gravity of the new dangers threatening them, it was incumbent of the international community as a whole to participate in the protection of the cultural and natural heritage of outstanding universal value".

It was considered essential for this purpose to adopt new provisions …establishing an effective system of collective protection of the cultural and natural heritage of outstanding universal value, organized on a permanent basis and in accordance with modern scientific methods.

This was when the treaty of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage was approved, to guarantee the international protection and conservation of assets of universal value, and an intergovernmental committee, the World Heritage Committee, would be responsible for drawing up, updating and publishing a list of cultural heritage assets that it considered to have outstanding universal value, following established criteria.

Spain signed the Convention on 18 March 1982 and currently has 44 properties registered in UNESCO’s World Heritage List - 39 cultural, 3 natural and 2 mixed.

World Heritage

According to the Convention's international treaty, World Heritage consists of monuments and developments of outstanding universal value from the point of view of history, art or science, and sites with outstanding universal value from the historical, aesthetic, ethnological or anthropological point of view.

Properties included in the World Heritage belongs to all the peoples in the world, irrespective of the territory where they are located, and therefore it is the entire international community that has the duty to cooperate in their protection.?It is therefore essential to establish a system of international cooperation and assistance designed to support the Convention's states members in their efforts to conserve and identify this heritage.

On a national scale, every state member of the Convention must identify and delineate different properties situated on its territory, as well as their protection, conservation and rehabilitation and transmission to future generations. They themselves must also submit to the Committee an inventory of property fit to be considered World Heritage.

The Convention on the protection of the World Heritage shall define the types of cultural property that may be considered for inscription on the World Heritage List.

The Tentative List and the World Heritage List

Each state member submits to the World Heritage Committee with an approximate inventory of the cultural heritage properties in their territory that they wish to include on the World Heritage Tentative List.

The World Heritage Committee shall be the body in charge of the establishment, updating and dissemination of the Tentative List, as well as the approval of a nomination for inclusion on the World Heritage List. To appear on the list, sites must have exceptional universal value and must satisfy at least one of the ten selection criteria determined by UNESCO - the nomination of Talayotic Minorca fulfils three in particular.

These criteria are regularly reviewed, and along with the Convention’s text, are the main working tools with respect to World Heritage. The protection, management, authenticity and integrity of properties are also considered important.?Obligations of states members in identifying, protecting and conserving properties are also established.

The updated list is circulated every two years. It currently includes over a thousand registered sites, presenting new challenges for UNESCO in its supervision. 



Consell Insular de Menorca Govern Illes Balears
MINORCA TALAYOTIC - World Heritage Nomination
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