Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed. Such is the central idea behind UNESCO, the United Nations educational, scientific and cultural organisation, founded in 1945. Its highest goal is safeguarding of peace. Among UNESCO’s tasks is the protection of the world heritage of humanity-consisting of cultural and natural heritage properties-and the biosphere reserves.
What nature has created over thousands or millions of years, and what humanity has built up over centuries, should be safeguarded. The protection and preservation of these treasures should be in the care of all of us; this was, and remains, the central revolutionary idea of world heritage. The rescue of the Abu Simbel temples in Egypt was the first step towards convention concerning the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972. Nearly one thousand properties have now been inscribed on the world heritage list. All are of outstanding universal value-just like the pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Galapagos island of Ecuador and yellow stone national park and the grand canyon in USA.
Biosphere reserves are model regions in which the concept of sustainable development is central to day to day management. Here residents and the business community collaborate to ensure that the interests of the environment, the economy and the social solidarity are balanced in work and harmony. Sustainable development meets the need of the present but also ensures that the need of future generations will be satisfied.
We are all called upon to take care of thus priceless heritage, and to ensure that it will be passed on safely to the future generation.