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Cultural heritage

Cultural Heritage Protection has been an important feature of the volunteer projects of CCIVS' members over decades. CCIVS' action aims at involving young and adult volunteers in the protection and the valorisation of our common tangible and intangible heritage.

In 2008 CCIVS launched a global project with the support of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre (WHC) for the preservation of World Heritage sites: World Heritage Volunteers: Patrimonito rolls up its sleeves. The project is going on in 2009 (you can check http://whc.unesco.org/en/activities/575 for information). Volunteers from all over the world will discuss issues related to world heritage and cultural diversity while actively engaging in the preservation of World Heritage sites through projects run by CCIVS member organisations. CCIVS will also produce an info kit with background reflections, games and exercises based on an approach of non formal education.

Click here for more information;
Click here for the updated list of selected projects;

Click here to download the leaflet.

Sensible stones: CCIVS and the protection of cultural heritage

A diverse and valorised cultural heritage is one of the major vectors of transmission of the values of cultural diversity and pluralism. CCIVS has a long standing experience in the preservation and promotion of cultural heritage as a basis for mutual understanding and dialogue. CCIVS member organisations have been active in cultural and natural heritage projects since the 1920ies. Each year, CCIVS members organise hundreds of projects in the field often in the form of so-called work camps all over the world where young and adult volunteers from different backgrounds live and work together. Developing a project together allows establishing the link between local action and global reflection. The protection of heritage, whether it is globally recognised or just of local interest, allows the volunteers, members of the local communities and representatives of local authorities to reflect about issues related to memory, the symbolism of the sites where they work and the way it is embedded in other local traditions. Working on a concrete site and reflecting about its function allows bringing traditions alive and re-creating lost links. Elderly people in the community may still have memories in connection with the site and the fact that volunteers from different countries are interested in protecting a specific local site encourages locals to look at the site from a fresh and renewed perspective.

Through heritage projects CCIVS wishes to:

- Render its symbolic dimension to heritage through debates and reflections,
- Contribute to the restoration and preservation of cultural heritage and/or improve accessibility and availability of information,
- Raise the awareness of the local population and create a sense of " ownership " and identification,
- Promote cultural heritage between international volunteers and organisations and analyse its possible contribution to the development of a local community.

Heritage projects concern cultural and natural heritage; they can be focussed on material as well as intangible heritage and often combine several aspects in a holistic approach. The projects aim at raising awareness about the values of heritage and strengthen the sense of ownership of the local population of their local heritage. The project is based on a physical work project, which does not demand any specific expertise from the volunteers and is open for participants of different backgrounds. Projects range from the physical preservation of heritage under the instruction of an expert or efforts to render a site more accessible through the cutting of grass, setting up of fences, paths and signs to cultural festivals and awareness raising campaigns.

One example of voluntary service around a World Heritage Site is the project "Laboratorio Mediterraneo - I Sassi di Matera", YAP Italia - Basilicata Region/South of Italy. Click here to view a few other examples.

Some projects are accompanied by structured discussions and inputs run by the trainers or external experts aimed at highlighting the link between heritage preservation and an open minded outlook on the future based on a sense for the multiple roots of local heritage. Ideally the project evolves around a site or tradition which can function as a witness or symbol for pluralism and a peaceful way of living together between different groups. These projects have an important pedagogical value for the volunteers and the communities where they take place. All stakeholders acquire knowledge about the importance of tangible and intangible heritage in the life and development of the different local and national communities.

Heritage work camps contribute to the promotion of intercultural dialogue and peace. They gather people from different countries, cultural backgrounds and gender around a common project requiring collective efforts and involvement. The diversity of the group is increased by the participation of members of the local community and the host organisation.

Through the preservation and the promotion of cultural heritage, CCIVS encourages personal development, exchanges, mutual understanding and respect. CCIVS' action is complementary to UNESCO's action to promote cultural heritage and cultural diversity and several projects have received UNESCO's support in the past.

UNESCO and Voluntary Service as tool for the protection and the promotion of Cultural Heritage

UNESCO has recognised the importance of Voluntary Service for the protection and the valorisation of our cultural Heritage. The report "Our creative diversity" suggested the possibility to involve volunteers from different educational backgrounds and different social spheres in the efforts of governments and intergovernmental organisations in the field of cultural and natural heritage.

UNESCO has also promoted the importance of involving young people in this process through the campaign "World Heritage, Today and Tomorrow" and the "Youth Education: world heritage in young hands programme"

For more information about UNESCO's work in the field of cultural heritage: http://whc.unesco.org/

The United Nations and the importance of Cultural Heritage for the development of Youth

In its World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond (WPAY), the UN established a clear link between the need to develop a better and more inclusive educational system for all and cultural heritage. In the approved text of the WPAY, the UN General Assembly declares the following:

"Governments should establish or strengthen programmes to educate young people in the cultural heritage of their own and other societies and the world. Governments should institute, in cooperation with non-governmental youth organizations, travel and exchange programmes and youth camps to help youth understand cultural diversity at both the national and international levels, develop intercultural learning skills and participate in the preservation of the cultural heritage of their own and other societies and the world around them. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, in cooperation with interested Governments and non-governmental organizations, is requested to expand international programmes, such as youth camps, by which young people, particularly those from developing countries, with different cultures, may help restore major international cultural sites and engage in other cultural activities".

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