Cultural Heritage as a Strategy of Sustainable Development in Europe

2018: European Year of Cultural Heritage

With the official launch at the European Culture Forum in Milan on 7 December 2017 and running until 31 December 2018, the European Year of Cultural Heritage (EYCH) seeks to invite people to discover our rich heritage in order to strengthen and boost the sense of belonging, in order to appreciate, enjoy and understand the value of everything that we will share with future generations.

The year 2018, therefore, was chosen as the year in Europe when, at the local, regional and national level, initiatives and events will be implemented and held to enhance the creation of a single cultural concept of society and heritage together. The EYCH will also raise awareness on intelligent measures to make the most of the potential of the cultural heritage around us, and in this way contribute to the socio-economic development as set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, also known as the “2030 Agenda”.

As set out in the Conclusions of the Council of Europe of 21 May 2014, on cultural heritage as a strategic resource for a sustainable Europe, culture “constitutes a powerful driving force of inclusive local and regional development and creates considerable externalities, in particular through the enhancement of sustainable cultural tourism”. In effect, culture appears implicitly in the 2030 Agenda in various SDGs, such as the Heritage Cities programme (goal 11), education (goal 4) and tourism linked to sustainable growth (goal 12).

Accordingly, promoting and managing sustainable cultural tourism is essential to ensure that the wealth of our historical heritage is maintained, and thus attain a competitiveness in tourism that is both responsible and high quality. To that end, one of the measures proposed by the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) is to provide education on sustainability so as to raise awareness, through the various agents involved (public policy, social agents, private businesses, etc.), of the importance of preserving cultural heritage for future generations.