Culture's power to transform societies is clear. Its diverse manifestations – from our cherished historic monuments and museums to traditional practices and contemporary art forms – enrich our everyday lives in countless ways. UNESCO aims to protect and promote heritage and cultural expressions and to advocate the inclusion of intercultural dialogue in development policies to foster a culture of peace and non-violence. Heritage constitutes a source of identity and resilience for communities disrupted by bewildering change and economic instability. Creativity contributes to building open, inclusive and pluralistic societies. Both heritage and creativity lay the foundations for vibrant, innovative and prosperous knowledge societies.
UNESCO is convinced that no development can be sustainable without a strong culture component. Indeed only a human-centred approach to development based on mutual respect and open dialogue among cultures can lead to lasting, inclusive and equitable results. Yet until recently, culture has been missing from the development equation. To ensure that culture takes it rightful place in development strategies and processes, UNESCO has adopted a three-pronged approach: it spearheads worldwide advocacy for culture and development, while engaging with the international community to set clear policies and legal frameworks and working on the ground to support governments and local stakeholders to safeguard heritage, strengthen creative industries and encourage cultural pluralism.
UNESCO renowned cultural conventions provide a unique global platform for international cooperation and establish a holistic cultural governance system based on human rights and shared values. These international treaties endeavour to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage including ancient archaeological sites, intangible and underwater heritage, museum collections, oral traditions and other forms of heritage, and to support creativity, innovation and the emergence of dynamic cultural sectors.
Positioned on the historical trade routes of the Middle-East, Jordan has been home to a mix of cultures and religions throughout time. The rich history of the country is represented by a large and varied archaeological heritage, testimony to the past civilizations that settled in the area. There are currently four sites in Jordan inscribed in the World Heritage List (Petra, Quseir Amra, Um er-Rasas, and the Wadi Rum Protected Area) and 15 properties that have been identified as potential candidates for inscription and are currently on the Tentative List. This heritage attracts many tourists to sites such as Petra and Jerash every year, making tourism one of the most important sectors of Jordan’s economy.
Jordan is also known for its intangible heritage, in particular the Bedouin pastoral tribal heritage. The importance of the traditions and way of life associated with the Bedouin tribes was recognized in 2008 when ‘The Cultural Space of the Bedu in Petra and Wadi Rum’ was added to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The UNESCO Amman Office supports Jordan in protecting sites inscribed on the World Heritage List and assists in improving the management of museums and cultural objects. UNESCO is supporting women in Jordan to improve their livelihoods through innovative cultural industries like natural dyes and traditional handcraft production.