The #Unite4Heritage campaign was initiated in 2015 by UNESCO in order to build support for the protection of heritage in areas where it is threatened by extremists, currently in first line in Syria and in Iraq.
The campaign is basing on the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954), the Convention against Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property (1970), the World Heritage Convention (1972) and the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2006).
An important task of the #Unite4Heritage campaign is to raise awareness among a wider public about the fact that an important part of our common heritage is currently endangered by armed conflicts and terrorists, to sensitise the public for this threat, to spread information and to mobilise the public for the protection of the endangered heritage.
European Heritage Volunteers joined the campaign #Unite4Heritage only some days after it had been launched.
The presentation of the campaign had been a part of the programme of the World Heritage Volunteers Planning Meeting in order to enable the organisations and institutions carrying out World Heritage Volunteers projects in Europe to include the information about the #Unite4Heritage campaign in their projects and to motivate the volunteers to multiply the information after their return in their home countries.
Similarly, the information about the campaign and later discussions about the topic had been included in the programme of the World Heritage Young Experts Forum which was held in cooperation with European Heritage Volunteers, and this especially against the background that five of the thirty two participants of the Young Experts Forum originated from Arab countries.
Finally, twelve volunteers from Arab countries got the possibility in the framework of the campaign #Unite4Heritage to participate in 2015 in World Heritage Volunteers projects in other UNESCO regions. European Heritage Volunteers enabled a young woman from Egypt and a young man from Morocco to take part in the World Heritage Volunteers project “Classical Weimar”. As one of the results of this participation the Moroccan volunteer produced a video about the project in a English and an Arabic version in order to spread the idea of volunteering for the protection of heritage in the Arab countries, too.
In 2016, European Heritage Volunteers continued its activities in this field and invited volunteers from Syria and from Palestine to participate in the World Heritage Volunteers projects in Germany.