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  • 24 April 2017

    Taking place between 2 and 12 July 2017 in Kraków, the session will be attended by representatives of the 21 UNESCO World Heritage Committee member states, who will be making decisions concerning cultural and natural heritage all over the world.

    The agreement with UNESCO to host the event in Poland was signed by Professor Piotr Gliński, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture and National Heritage, on behalf of the Polish government in Paris on 19 April 2017. The 41st session of the World Heritage Committee will be organised on behalf of the Polish government by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, which is preparing the meeting in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior and Administration and the Kraków authorities. The event’s executive organiser and coordinator is the National Heritage Board of Poland, representing the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. The Committee’s session will be chaired by Professor Jacek Purchla, President of the Polish National Commission for UNESCO, Director of the International Cultural Centre.

    The 41st session’s programme includes plenary sessions of the Committee and parallel events such as the Young Professionals Forum and – organised for the first time on the initiative of Poland and UNESCO – the Forum of World Heritage Site Managers and the Civil Society Forum. Developing the programme of parallel events, the organisers were guided by the idea of a common responsibility for protecting natural and cultural treasures, which originates directly in the Convention. The session venue is the ICE Kraków Congress Centre, one of the most advanced conference facilities in Europe. Besides meetings, it will also host vernissages and cultural events drawing on traditions from various parts of the world. The session’s opening ceremony will take place on 2 July at Wawel Royal Castle in Kraków.

    “UNESCO World Heritage relies on a clear and positive vision of humanity united around shared values and common history. At a time when culture and people are under attack in too many parts of the world, we need to foster this vision and that is the purpose of this year’s session in Krakow: to join forces to safeguard heritage and strengthen a sense of unity of the whole human race,” says UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.

    Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Gliński believes that Poland, being an active UNESCO member, fully supports measures aimed at saving world heritage. “In today’s world, marked by the tragedy of Aleppo and the fate of Palmira, the reconstruction of Warsaw and the painstaking reconstruction of its monuments after WW2 send a positive message to all who have seen their towns destroyed by hostilities. Destruction does not have to spell the end of a town’s existence, it could be the beginning of its reconstruction,” said the deputy prime minister. He added that the 41st session will continue the tradition of commemorating World Heritage List sites, fourteen of which are located in Poland. Poland’s request for inscribing a site on the World Heritage List this year concerns Tarnowskie Góry underground, i.e. lead, silver and zinc ore mines with their underground water management system in Tarnowskie Góry.
    Poland's active participation in the development of international cooperation standards within UNESCO is also something that Professor Magdalena Gawin stresses. She is Deputy Minister of Culture and National Heritage, General Conservator, and a plenipotentiary of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage for the organization of the 41st session. “On the one hand, this organization for many decades has been a window on the world for Poland and for Poles, a platform for exchanging thoughts and contacts with other countries. On the other hand, the contribution of Poles in building international cooperation deserves a mention, e.g. that of Professor Jan Zachwatowicz, the creator of the "Blue Shield" graphic sign, featured on monuments all over the world, or of Polish archaeologists and conservators who save cultural heritage in various corners of the world,” said Professor Gawin.

    “A UNESCO World Heritage Committee Session is a very prestigious event on a global scale. It brings together leading personalities from the world of culture, science, politics, and diplomacy, who will have an opportunity to observe our country. Poland will have the opportunity to present its cultural, scientific, and intellectual work,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Jan Dziedziczak.  “We are very much looking forward to this great event. It will be the biggest event in Poland in 2017,” added the MFA’S deputy chief.

    UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is a multilateral cooperation organization in the fields of education, science, culture and information. It currently has 195 member countries. At the UNESCO forums, international cooperation programs and legal norms are developed in the form of conventions, recommendations or declarations.

    The World Heritage Committee is made up of 21 countries which have been elected from among the states which ratified the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of 1972. The governments of State Parties elect members of the Committee for six-year terms by the General Assembly. Currently, it is made up of Angola, Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Croatia, Cuba, Finland, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Peru, the Philippines, Portugal, the Republic of Korea, Tunisia, Turkey, United Republic of Tanzania, Vietnam, Zimbabwe and Poland, which sits on the Committee for the second time since its inception. The current term, which started in 2013, ends in October 2017.

    The World Heritage List includes historical buildings as well as natural monuments, geological formations and ecosystems, plus cultural landscapes. To date, 1052 items spread across 165 countries have been inscribed on the List.

    For detailed information about the 41st session, please visit the event’s homepage: 
    Proceedings of the World Heritage Committee will be live streamed on the UNESCO homepage:

    Photos of Polish world heritage sites are available at: and at

    MFA Press Office

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