Irina Bokova Traces UNESCO’s Vision of Cultural Heritage at International Women’s Forum
From the notion of outstanding universal value to the concept of intangible heritage, Director-General Irina Bokova traced UNESCO’s broad vision of culture during a presentation to the International Women’s Forum at the United Nations in New York on 4 November 2010.
Ms Bokova drew attention to the challenges of reconciling the protection of sites with modernity and of assisting countries in Africa and Small Island developing states to propose sites for inscription on the World Heritage List.
Globalization, migration and the opening of boundaries have made it all the more necessary to protect oral traditions, crafts and endangered languages, she said, referring to UNESCO’s 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. The 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions further enriches thinking about culture’s dynamic role in a globalizing world. “There is not a single country that does not have the challenge of managing diversity. It is important that we show the way.”
During the presentation, Ms Bokova also highlighted UNESCO’s commitment to empower girls and women through education, promote freedom of expression and build scientific capacity.
Citing the example of climate change, Ms Bokova said that UNESCO’s broad mandate is an asset because the challenges we face are multidisciplinary. “We accompany governments to deal with these complex challenges and promote sustainability which is very important in times of crisis.”