World Heritage Day - 18th April

World Heritage Day, also known as the International Day for Monuments and Sites, happens to be an international observance held throughout the world. The observance includes various activities like paying visits to the heritage sites and monuments, participating in round table discussions and conferences, and organising cultural programmes. Every year a different theme is chosen to encourage sustainability by protecting the various heritage sites across the globe.

When is World Heritage Day celebrated?

One of the major questions that students frequently find in the UPSC Prelims relates to the day of observance of World Heritage Day. Every year, the observance is held on 18th April, marking a major day for social attention.

The conservation of cultural heritage and awareness about the importance of historical monuments is an important part of the history and art & culture syllabus for the civil services exam.

In this article, we shall discuss at length the history and background of this day, along with its significance and theme.

What is World Heritage Day?

The UPSC Syllabus often focuses on making the students discover the World Heritage Day meaning in real terms. This is a day when several communities across the world organise various tours and programmes, with the purpose of making the people aware of the necessity for the conservation of the historical sites.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) initiates the activities on this day every year. Communities across the world participate in the same. The idea for the observance is related to the promotion and conservation of the world’s cultural heritage. This is added on by various seminars as well as group discussions that concern the ideals of World Heritage Day.

Background

The ICOMOS had brought up the idea for the observance of 18th April as the World Heritage Day in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1982. UNESCO approved the proposal in 1983 during the 22nd General Conference. The ICOMOS had stated that the purpose for the observance was to make the countries celebrate their national heritages, and bring up international solidarity with the objective of safeguarding and strengthening the cultural heritage of the world.

Given below are answers to a few common questions asked about the UNESCO heritage sites, important from the perspective of the upcoming IAS exam:

World Heritage Day in India

India has been following the tenets of the international standards maintained by UNESCO in the context of the International Day for Monuments and Sites or the World Heritage Day. The day is promoted in Indian culture as a day of awareness, when the vast Indian population understands and celebrates the value of the rich cultural heritage of the country.

A total of 1121 World Heritage Sites are identified by UNESCO worldwide. Out of these, India has 40 sites throughout its vast territory. With the concern for the protection of these sites, the day is marked as a day of significance in the context of understanding the value of a sustainable future with the conservation of cultural heritage.

With the latest edition of Dholavira and Ramappa Temple in 2021, the count of UNESCO World Heritage Sites has gone up from 38 to 40. Candidates can get a comprehensive list of these Indian sites at the linked article.

As a part of your IAS preparation, the context of India’s association with the observance of World Heritage Day will be of immense importance. This will help you enrich your knowledge for the upcoming UPSC 2022.

World Heritage Day 2022

UNESCO had brought out the 2021 World Heritage Day theme as “Complex Pasts: Diverse Futures”. The observance in 2022 will also mark a major theme to be brought up by UNESCO to conserve the heritage sites across the world. UNESCO has been focussing on a detailed examination of the past to identify the necessities of the future in the context of the cultural heritage of the world.

This is being maintained with the vision of not allowing for any deterioration or even disappearance of items about the natural or cultural heritage of the world. The objective is certainly to make the present, as well as the future generations, comprehend the idea of identification and conservation of the heritage sites of the world.

You can expect various questions related to this topic in your upcoming UPSC Exam. Make sure you understand the details of the topic as thoroughly as possible!

Frequently Asked Questions on the World Heritage Day

When was the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) founded?

The ICOMOS was founded in 1985, which had later brought up the idea for World Heritage Day.

Name some of the famous heritage sites in India that have been acknowledged as the ‘world heritage sites.’

The ‘world heritage sites’ in India include the Ajanta Caves, the Fatehpur Sikri, the Taj Mahal, and the Khangchendzonga National Park, the Bhimbhetka Rock Shelters, Hampi, and the Konark (Sun) Temple, among others.

Which are the cultural and natural heritage sites in India registered under the World Heritage Sites?

Out of India’s 40 World Heritage Sites, there are 32 cultural sites and 8 natural sites. The cultural sites include the Fatehpur Sikri, Ajanta Caves and Hampi Mountains, among others. The natural heritage sites include the Kaziranga, Khangchendzonga, and the Manas National Parks, among others.

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