Thursday, February 11, 2016

UNESCO's "Recommendation Concerning the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections, Their Diversity, and their Role in Society"

UNESCO recently adopted a new document outlining a "Recommendation Concerning the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections, Their Diversity, and their Role in Society." Below is an excerpt. Read the full document here.

"The General Conference,
Considering that museums share some of the fundamental missions of the Organization, as stipulated in its Constitution, including its contribution to the wide diffusion of culture, and the education of humanity for justice, liberty and peace, the foundation of the intellectual and moral solidarity of humanity, full and equal opportunities for education for all, in the unrestricted pursuit of objective truth, and in the free exchange of ideas and knowledge,
Also considering that one of the functions of the Organization, as laid out in its Constitution, is to give new impulse to popular education and to the dissemination of culture: by collaborating with Members, at their request, in the development of educational activities; by instituting collaboration among countries to advance the ideal of equality of educational opportunity without regard to race, gender or any distinctions, economic or social; and to maintain, increase and disseminate knowledge,
Recognizing the importance of culture in its diverse forms in time and space, the benefit that peoples and societies draw from this diversity, and the need to strategically incorporate culture, in its diversity, into national and international development policies, in the interest of communities, peoples and countries,
Affirming that the preservation, study and transmission of cultural and natural, tangible and intangible heritage, in its movable and immovable conditions, are of great importance for all societies, for intercultural dialogue among peoples, for social cohesion, and for sustainable development,
Reaffirming that museums can effectively contribute towards accomplishing these tasks, as stated in the 1960 Recommendation concerning the Most Effective Means of Rendering Museums Accessible to Everyone, which was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO at its 11th session (Paris, 14 December 1960),
Further affirming that museums and collections contribute to the enhancement of human rights, as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular its Article 27, and in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in particular its Articles 13 and 15,
Considering museums’ intrinsic value as custodians of heritage, and that they also play an ever-increasing role in stimulating creativity, providing opportunities for creative and cultural industries, and for enjoyment, thus contributing to the material and spiritual well-being of citizens across the world,
Considering that it is the responsibility of every Member State to protect the cultural and natural heritage, tangible and intangible, movable and immovable, in the territory under its jurisdiction in all circumstances and to support the actions of museums and the role of collections to that end,

Noting that a body of international standard-setting instruments – adopted by UNESCO and elsewhere – including conventions, recommendations and declarations, exists on the subject of the role of museums and collections, all of which remain valid,i
Taking into account the magnitude of socio-economic and political changes that have affected the role and diversity of museums since the adoption of the 1960 Recommendation concerning the Most Effective Means of Rendering Museums Accessible to Everyone,
Desiring to reinforce the protection provided by the existing standards and principles referring to the role of museums and collections in favour of cultural and natural heritage, in its tangible and intangible forms and to related roles and responsibilities,
Having considered proposals on the Recommendation concerning the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections, their Diversity and their Role in Society,
Recalling that a UNESCO recommendation is a non‐binding instrument that provides principles and policy guidelines addressing different stakeholders,
Adopts this Recommendation on the 17th of November 2015.
The General Conference recommends that Member States apply the following provisions by taking whatever legislative or other measures may be required to implement, within their respective territories under their jurisdiction, the principles and norms set forth in this Recommendation."

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