On August 21, 1992, the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO was established. Moscow is a member of the executive board of UNESCO: Russian representatives are included in the working institutions and bureaus of the organization. The Memorandum of Cooperation between Russia and UNESCO was signed in 1993 in Moscow. Years of cooperation between the Russian Federation and UNESCO have recommended the country as an authoritative and promising member of the organization. The Russian Federation consistently takes part in the work of UNESCO in the field of science and education: education is seen as a tool for solving many problems of the world community. Updating the education system in third-world countries and reforming the technological environment of these countries are priority tasks that Russia is helping to accomplish. Interaction between the Russian Federation and UNESCO is accompanied by a constant exchange of experience and advanced technologies. The University Twinnings (UNITWIN) Higher Educational Institutions Cooperation Program is the main form of exchange of experience, it contributes to the improvement of education: with the support of UNITWIN, a network of higher educational institutions and departments has been created. The work to involve the country's higher educational institutions in the international sphere of cooperation has a positive effect on the integration of the Russian Federation into the world scientific community. The Convention program for the protection and preservation of the world's cultural and natural heritage provides an influx of new technologies and consultative experience in the field of restoration activities.
The relevance of the article is determined by the steadily growing role of global cooperation in the modern international community, in which UNESCO plays a central role. The organization helps to solve the problems of preserving the world's cultural and natural heritage, general education, training of specialists, scientists, and teachers, and the formation of a new generation of humanity brought up in the spirit of peace and mutual understanding, tolerance, and respecting human and animal rights.
The problem of the study is the content and main activities of the international organization UNESCO within the framework of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage on the territory of the Russian Federation.
- The subject of the study is the 1972 UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.
- On the territory of Russia, there are more than twenty-seven objects of world cultural heritage. The Russian Federation ranks ninth among the one hundred and ninety participating countries that have ratified the convention.
- The topic of the article is relevant to modern science and may be of interest to a wide range of the public and specialists: the world community, represented by the UN, is trying to protect many world heritage sites, including those located in war zones that are being destroyed.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the paper is: to evaluate the activities of the specialized agency of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); describe and characterize the tasks and provisions of international conventions issued by UNESCO, in particular, the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage; analyze the operation of this convention on the territory of the Russian Federation.
The methodological basis of the study is the principles of historicism and objectivity. The normative base of the study is: the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of 1972.
The USSR became a member of UNESCO on April 21, 1954. After the collapse of the USSR, the Russian Federation became the successor of the USSR to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
On August 21, 1992, the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO was established. Its ranks include representatives of ministries and various departments, representatives of the republics and autonomous regions, famous scientists, and personalities of the country's culture and art. The commission's activity is based on determining the directions of Russia's participation in UNESCO programs. Many regions and cities of the Russian Federation fall into the focus of the commission's attention (Mikhailova, 2001).
Moscow is a member of the executive board of UNESCO: Russian representatives are included in the working institutions and bureaus of the organization. The Memorandum of Cooperation between Russia and UNESCO was signed in 1993 in Moscow. The Russian Federation and UNESCO are cooperating in the areas of protection of Russian monuments of history and culture, information technologies, and establishment of higher educational institutions of the relevant profile. UNESCO assists the Russian Federation in the field of education and its reform, the protection of cultural and natural historical heritage, and the exchange of scientific experience. Years of cooperation between the Russian Federation and UNESCO have recommended the country as an authoritative and promising member of the organization. The Russian Federation consistently takes part in the work of UNESCO in the field of science and education, bringing to life many of its conventions and provisions.
Education is seen as a tool for solving many problems of the world community, such as crime, poverty, and underdevelopment of the country. Upgrading the education system in third world countries that are less developed than the rest, updating vocational education, and reforming the technological sphere of these countries are considered the organization as priority tasks (Beda, 1999).
As an international organization, UNESCO contributes in every possible way to reforms and transformations in the education system. The main emphasis is on establishing the correspondence of modern education to the needs of society in a particular country, as well as the needs of each person. The Russian Federation and UNESCO are in the process of continuous exchange of experience and advanced technologies. In the Russian Federation, up to six seminars of various levels, both international and local, are held annually, conferences dedicated to the main issues of concern to UNESCO.
The Cooperation Program of Higher Educational Institutions (UNITWIN) is an intergovernmental program of worldwide inter-university cooperation and academic mobility; it is the main form of international exchange of experience and contributes to the improvement of the quality of education. The program trains a wide range of specialists and scientific personnel in education. With the support of UNITWIN, an international network of higher educational institutions and departments has been created: today their number exceeds 500 departments in more than 100 countries of the world.
Active work is also being carried out to open UNITWIN branches in the cities of the Russian Federation; now more than 180 branches are open. This work to involve the country's higher educational institutions in the international sphere of cooperation has a positive effect on the integration of the Russian Federation into the world market of educational services.
In addition to UNITWIN, there is the worldwide network of International Centers for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (UNEVOC), founded in 1992. As well as UNITWIN, UNEVOC actively promotes the exchange of experience and is actively working to create exchange information bases accessible via the Internet. In addition to associations of higher education institutions, international networks have also been established that unite primary and secondary education institutions. The Associated Schools System has been operating since 1953 and includes more than 6,000 institutions, such as kindergartens, elementary schools, and colleges in more than 150 countries around the world.
Associated schools focus their attention on such problems of the present time as:
- education based on the promotion of peace, respect for human rights, and interethnic tolerance;
- promotion of the preservation of the original type of unique nature and world-historical and cultural heritage, and the cultural diversity of the peoples of the world;
- role and tasks of the United Nations in the international arena.
In the Russian Federation, there are more than 150 educational institutions in more than 30 subjects that have the status of UNESCO-associated schools. The organization renders assistance in restoring the educational system in Chechnya. The agreement on the assistance of the UNESCO organization to the post-war restoration of education in the Chechen Republic was signed in 2000. Later, in 2003, the Russian Federation and UNESCO adopted a Memorandum of Interaction and Cooperation in Restoring the Education System in the Chechen Republic. The strategy of the Russian Federation in terms of international cooperation in UNESCO is very diverse (Polyakova, 2005).
An integral element of the UNESCO Convention Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage is the World Heritage List. It was formed in 1972, and since then, it has been constantly updated and changed: new unique objects of history and nature are included in it, and some are excluded. Currently, this list is more than 754 objects of cultural and natural significance: these objects are scattered around the world on the territory of 195 countries, 27 of these 750 objects are located in the Russian Federation; some of them: the Moscow Kremlin and Red Square, the Assumption Cathedral, the Archangel's five-domed cathedral, the Nine-domed Annunciation Cathedral, Belfry Ivan the Great, Grand Kremlin Palace, St. Basil's Cathedral 1555–1560, historical center and monuments of palace and park architecture in the suburbs of St. Petersburg, Historical monuments of Novgorod, Grand Gatchina Palace, Spaso-Preobrazhensky churchyard lakes, White-stone monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal, Architectural ensemble of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra in Sergiev Posad, Church of the Ascension in Kolomenskoye, Architectural ensemble of the Ferapontov Monastery, Historical and architectural ensemble of the Kazan Kremlin, Historical center of the city of Derbent (Ancient Derbent).
The Commission for UNESCO in the Russian Federation has been operating since 1997, and the National World Heritage Committee operates under it. The World Heritage Fund assists in the protection of cultural and natural monuments on the territory of the Russian Federation.
Russia fully repaid its debt on contributions to the World Heritage Fund at the 13th session of the General Assembly of the countries-participants of the UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of 1972.
In 2001, the Russian Federation was elected to the World Heritage Committee for the first time in the history of its membership. The convention program for the protection and preservation of the world's cultural and natural heritage provides the country with an influx of new technologies and consultative experience in the restoration of cultural, historical, and architectural objects (Potapova, 2001).
As a result of international assistance and sharing of experience with other countries participating in the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, the scientific and regulatory framework for the management and further development of institutions and communities working in the field of UNESCO and directly performing the tasks of bringing the plans to life is being updated. This process is controlled within the framework of the activities of the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT). UNESCO recommendations have played a significant role in the formation of new laws in Russia dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage. At meetings, congresses and seminars held every two years, the tasks of preserving the cultural values of small regions are discussed with the involvement of the forces of regional cultural bodies. Such a division of responsibilities helps to preserve the identity of a single region and popularize the process of preserving the national cultural and historical heritage (Velikanov, 2001).
The Russian Committee of the International Council of Museums of the Russian Federation is actively associated with the international organization of the same name, ICOM, with the assistance of which there is an exchange of experience and specialists.
Russia takes an active part in establishing the provisions of the UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage and in the development of local legislative acts related to this Convention. With the representation and initiative of the ICOM of the Russian Federation, an international conference was held in 2002 on the problem of illicit trafficking in cultural property: the countries participating in the Convention discussed important issues and considered methods for solving them at the level of international assistance (Uranov, 1986).
The Russian Federation is also actively engaged in the preservation of intangible cultural heritage, which is one of the priority tasks of UNESCO. First of all, to solve this problem, it is necessary to popularize the idea of preserving and transferring the intangible objects of humanity to future descendants.
At the 29th session of the UNESCO Conference, provisions were adopted on insignia for the intangible heritage of humanity.
So, for example, the insignia Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage was adopted.
As in the case of tangible heritage sites, there are specific regulations and criteria for inclusion with the provision of an intangible heritage site as a candidate for inclusion on the UNESCO list: the candidate object must be artistic, social, historical, ethnological, or literary value. Due to the active actions of the Russian Federation, the UNESCO list of the intangible heritage of humanity was replenished with the oral works of the Old Believers of Transbaikalia and the Yakut epic “Olonkho”. Olonkho is the oldest epic art of the Yakuts (Sakha), it occupies a central place in the system of Yakut folklore. The term “olonkho” also denotes the epic tradition as a whole.
At the 32nd session of the General Conference of UNESCO in 2003, the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was adopted.
An international intergovernmental committee has been set up to work on compliance with the Convention. The expert composition of the new committee for the preservation of intangible heritage included representatives of the countries participating in the convention, including the Russian Federation. Works for the preservation of the intangible heritage were financed by the Fund established by the participating countries, membership fees, and funds received from the General Conference of UNESCO, private individuals, or public organizations. The same committee for the preservation of intangible national heritage was established under the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO in 2003 (UNESCO Regulations for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, 2003).
Due to cooperation with UNESCO, a plan for the reconstruction of the Bolshoi Theater was approved. The agreement was signed in 1993. March 28, 2000, was declared a significant date, the day of the “Birth of the Theatre”, on which the theaters of the world expressed their solidarity with the Bolshoi Theater.
The next major UNESCO project was the Hermitage. The work was carried out by the Memorandum of Cooperation between the Russian Federation and UNESCO as an international organization, which was adopted in 1993. The largest contribution to the restoration of the Hermitage was made by the state party to the convention, the Netherlands, which helped with direct funding and also the exchange of experience to improve the skills of museum staff.
The Russian State Libraries are also a UNESCO project in Russia. According to the project's stated goals, plans were drawn up to reform the library system in the Russian Federation, which received a US$10 million loan during strategy development. In 1999, agreements were signed between the Russian Federation and UNESCO on the preservation and protection of Russia's cultural heritage (UNESCO Regulations for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, 2002).
The Russian library system was included in the international library base for international exchange via the Internet. Databases with many Russian books translated into international languages were created for this. Monuments of history and culture of Russia make up a significant share of the cultural and natural heritage of the world and make a vital contribution to the sustainable development of the country and human civilization as a whole. This predetermines the highest responsibility of the Russian people and the state for preserving their heritage and passing it on to subsequent generations (Collection of normative reports and provisions, 2004).
Due to Russia's cooperation with UNESCO, Russian natural and cultural monuments have received a more improved system of preservation and use.
After two world wars, the issue of further preservation and protection of cultural heritage at the world level became acute. To this end, in the second half of the 20th century, the territories where monuments of the historical heritage of humanity are located began to be included in the so-called protected natural areas. To protect the cultural monuments located on them and specially protected natural areas that are part of the world heritage, a special UNESCO convention was adopted. In 1972, UNESCO adopted the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, which entered into force in 1975.
In conclusion, this study has shown the long and fruitful work done by UNESCO in Russian Federation. It should be noted the promotion of the importance of national and world cultural heritage is an essential part of the work done. By developing programs and projects with international mutual assistance, UNESCO as an organization has shown its positive potential in saving and preserving the cultural and natural heritage of humanity (Boguslavsky, 1999).
The assistance of UNESCO, and the established positive and fruitful relations give hope for the preservation of the unique material, intangible, cultural, and natural monuments of Russia. The works and projects carried out with joint actions saved many architectural and natural objects from extinction, and many were returned from ruins. These unique objects will be passed on to the next generations, who can learn an example of how their ancestors preserved the models of beauty and grandeur.
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23 December 2022
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Yusupova, K. M., & Ozdamirova, E. M. (2022). The 1972 Unesco Convention And Its Operation In Russia. In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Knowledge, Man and Civilization- ISCKMC 2022, vol 129. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1276-1282). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2022.12.163