UNESCO - the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - is a specialized agency of the United Nations Organization (ONU). It was founded on the 4th November 1946 and is based in Paris.
UNESCO aims to “contribute to the maintenance of peace and security, promoting, through education, science and culture, cooperation among nations, in order to ensure universal respect for justice, the law, human rights and fundamental freedoms that the Charter of the United Nations recognizes to all peoples, regardless of race, sex, language or religion”.
In 1972 UNESCO adopted the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage and established a World Heritage List of cultural and natural properties of "outstanding universal value", i.e. sites chosen for their exceptional characteristics that make them the best existing examples of a particular type of heritage. The list thus reflects the richness and diversity of the natural and cultural patrimony of the entire world.
Under the Convention countries recognize that the sites inscribed in the World Heritage List that are on their territory, without prejudice to national sovereignty or property rights, constitute a world heritage “for whose protection it is the duty of the international community as a whole to co-operate". The Convention is thus an agreement, ratified by almost every country, that aims to ensure the intellectual and financial resources necessary for safeguarding the sites that belong to the World Heritage List.