Photo from the video "Acceptons ce devoir" © UNESCO

World Day for Audiovisual Heritage 2015

"Archives at Risk: Protecting the World's Identities" is the slogan of this year's celebration of the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage (27 October).

The world’s audiovisual heritage of sound recordings and moving images are extremely vulnerable as a result of factors ranging from neglect, natural decay to technological obsolescence, as well as deliberate destruction.

Consequently, UNESCO has made it part of its mission to raise public consciousness of the importance of preservation of these recordings through the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage.

In adopting 27 October as the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, UNESCO, in cooperation with the Co-ordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations (CCAAA) and other institutions, has helped to raise the profile of the issues at stake and focus global attention on the fragility of this heritage.

Annually, archives around the world join together on 27 October to celebrate audiovisual archives with activities that not only highlight the vulnerability of this heritage, but celebrate the often unheralded work of the heritage institutions that protect it.

All of the world's audiovisual heritage is endangered. Therefore the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage and the Memory of the World Programme, have become the two key actions for UNESCO and the world to honour preservation professionals that help to safeguard this heritage for future generations despite the many technical, political, social, financial and other factors that threaten its survival.

UNESCO encourages everyone, everywhere to join us in celebrating 27 October by showcasing their precious collections so that present and future generations can enjoy the treasures that are our shared audiovisual heritage.

Digitization project with INA (France)

Photo from the movie "25ème anniversaire de l'UNESCO" © UNESCO

UNESCO’s archives and audiovisual collections are a goldmine for anyone looking for evidence on the Organization’s initiatives and work over the past 70 years. The Institut national de l'audiovisuel, INA (France), is in the process of digitizing a selection of this audio-visual heritage. In 2015, around 80 items will be digitized thanks to this partnership.  The digitized items will then be added to the INA-UNESCO Collection in the Multimedia Archives.

UNESCO’s cooperation with INA began in 2005 with an Agreement signed on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Organization. 

At this time, UNESCO entrusted INA with the conservation, digitization and promotion of a collection of videos and some early films to the general public ( and to audio-visual professionals (  To mark the 70th Anniversary of UNESCO, the Agreement has been expanded and the current goal is to digitize approximately 70 hours of audio-visual content, including sound recordings (in most part from the UNESCO Radio collection) and films (both reels and videos). 

UNESCO’s Multimedia Archives

Created in 2008, the UNESCO Multimedia Archives service provides staff with a central repository for depositing the audio-visual records of their activities, assists staff to incorporate multimedia content in their webpages, and gives the world access to UNESCO’s audio-visual heritage on the web.  Content includes documentaries, fiction, interviews, speeches and promotional material created by the Organization or related to its history and programme activities.

The Multimedia Archives service digitizes material on site or out-sources digitization for material that is fragile, or on obsolete formats.  The Multimedia Archives service works in close cooperation with production staff in the Department of Public Information, as well as with colleagues in the UNESCO Library and UNESCO Archives. 

Statistics 2015

  • UNESCO's audiovisual heritage includes over

    • 30,000 audio recordings: UNESCO Radio reports and interviews and other recordings from the 1940s to the 1980s.
    • 3,500 films and videos on UNESCO activities.
    • 170,000 photos, including negatives and slides, documenting UNESCO's actions from 1945 to the present day.
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