World Heritage Day is observed every year on April 18. The aim of celebrating this day is to promote cultural heritage through activities which are undertaken by the International Council on Monuments and Sites. ICOMOS suggested in 1982 that April 18 should be observed as an International Day for Monuments and Sites.
Post ICOMOS' suggestion in 1982, the proposal was accepted by UNESCO the following year during the 22nd General Conference. According to ICOMOS, the essential aspect is to mark this day so that it becomes not only a day to celebrate your National Heritage but also a day of International Solidarity in favour of strengthening and safeguarding Heritage world-wide. There are a grand total of 1,121 UNESCO World Heritage Sites worldwide, of which 869 are cultural, 213 are natural and 39 are a mixture.
The World Heritage Day Theme 2020 is Shared Culture, Shared Heritage and Shared Responsibility. This theme is even more important now an expression for global unity with current worldwide Coronavirus crisis. The idea behind the theme is the recognition and value of all types of heritage sites across varied diverse groups and communities.
Through history, everyone knows that some cultures were accepted, some were forced onto people, and some received resistance from the people, while some cultures were so heavily damaged that they could not be shared. By adopting this theme, ICOMOS is encouraging people to share and explore different cultures. The theme of ‘Shared Cultures, Shared Heritage, Shared Responsibility’ is also the theme for the ICOMOS 20th General Assembly and Scientific Symposium which is set to take place in Australia this year.
Possible activities for the observations of World Heritage Day include virtual conferences and round tables, live-streamed interviews, press releases, visits to heritage properties, heritage walks, social media campaigns, etc. For the celebrations, one can take the initiative host webinars on various subjects like the importance of the heritage sites, the history behind various monuments and more. With everyone stuck in lockdown, one can even arrange a virtual heritage tour if they have the pictures and videos for it.