The UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the Cultural and Natural Heritage of Humanity was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972 and thus celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, in 2022. The international community is celebrating, all the more so as this Convention is considered UNESCO's most successful cultural convention.
Almost all of UNESCO's 196 Member States are also Parties to this Convention, and most of these States Parties actually have listed World Heritage Sites. At the time of the round anniversary, on 16 November 2022, there were a total of 1,154 World Heritage Sites, of which 897 were Cultural Heritage Sites, 218 Natural Heritage Sites and 39 Mixed World Heritage Sites. And 43 World Heritage sites are transboundary or transnational World Heritage. At the same time, unfortunately, 52 World Heritage sites are on the Red List of World Heritage in Danger, including the Old Town of Vienna.
On 18 December 1992, the Republic of Austria ratified the UNESCO World Heritage Convention and since then 12 sites have been inscribed on the World Heritage List. Most recently, in 2021, Baden near Vienna was inscribed in the transnational World Heritage Site "The Great Spa Cities of Europe" and Vienna/Vindobona, Carnuntum and 20 other ancient Roman sites were inscribed in the transnational World Heritage Site "Frontiers of the Roman Empire - Danube Limes".
The International Academy Berlin and the Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany honoured the 50th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention with an international and interdisciplinary project lasting more than two years, which first began with a series of think tanks, the results of which were summarised in a best-of conference and finally, just in time for the anniversary, presented in an open access anthology and presented at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin.
The focus was on the future of the Convention on the one hand, and on the role of World Heritage in the context of conflicts and the potential of World Heritage for conflict resolution on the other. The coordination of the range of topics of World Heritage in War fell to Blue Shield and was led and moderated by Friedrich Schipper in his function as gf. vice president of the Austrian National Committee Blue Shield as well as military expert for cultural property protection at the Theresian Military Academy.
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++ Direct link to the anthology ++