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UNESCO Launches 40th Anniversary Celebrations of World Heritage Convention

7 November 2011: Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has launched the 40th anniversary celebrations for the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. She underlined the importance of involving communities in heritage preservation, recalling that the anniversary's theme is "World Heritage and Sustainable Development the Role of Local Communities." 

Bokova underscored that “heritage stands at the crossroads of climate change, social transformations and processes of reconciliation between peoples," noting its importance for sustainable economic and social development. Speaking during the opening of the General Assembly of the Convention, taking place at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, Bokova stressed that the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) would provide UNESCO a new opportunity to advocate linking culture and development.

The Convention was adopted by UNESCO's member States on 16 November 1972. The General Assembly of States parties to the World Heritage Convention takes place every two years and coincides with the sessions of UNESCO's General Conference.

The opening ceremony of the 40th anniversary celebrations will take place at UNESCO headquarters on 30 January 2012. [UNESCO Press Release]