What types of legal instrument does UNESCO use at the international level to protect the cultural heritage?

International legal instruments enable States to protect all forms of culture more effectively. UNESCO elaborates legal instruments in the form of declarations, recommendations and conventions, which are adopted by UNESCO's Member States.

Operational principles of such legal instruments:

  • Declaration: a purely moral or political commitment, binding States on the basis of good faith.
  • Recommendation: addressed to one or more States, a Recommendation is intended to encourage them to adopt a particular approach or to act in a given manner in a specific cultural sphere. In principle, a Recommendation does not create a legally binding obligation on Member States.
  • Convention: synonymous with treaty, this term refers to any agreement concluded by two or more States. Such an agreement is based on the joint will of the parties upon whom the convention imposes binding legal commitments.
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