"In this new age of diversity, we need ever more intercultural dialogue and ever deeper curiosity about others, in order to denounce cultural or religious stereotypes that are the seedbeds of intolerance. Our audiovisual heritage is vital for these efforts."
Director-General of UNESCO
Stacks of film reels in the Department of Public Information (DPI) audiovisual archives at UN Headquarters. The Department’s Audiovisual Services Section organized first-ever tours of the archives to commemorate the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage.
“Audiovisual heritage memory? the clock is ticking”
Audiovisual documents, such as films, radio and television programmes, are our common heritage and contain the primary records of the 20th and 21st centuries. They help to maintain the cultural identity of a people; but countless documentary treasures have disappeared since the invention of image and sound technologies that permit the peoples of the world to better share their experiences, creativity and knowledge.
All of the world's audiovisual heritage is endangered. Nowhere can it be said to be preserved, but through initiatives such as the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage and the Memory of the World Programme, the precious work of preservation professionals is given impetus to manage a range of technical, political, social, financial and other factors that threaten the safeguarding of our heritage.
It was in this context, that the General Conference in 2005 approved the commemoration of a World Day for Audiovisual Heritage as a mechanism to raise general awareness of the need for urgent measures to be taken and to acknowledge the importance of audiovisual documents as an integral part of national identity.