The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)-Greece Melina Mercouri International Prize for the Safeguarding and Management of Cultural Landscapes was created in 1995 to reward outstanding examples of action to safeguard and enhance the world’s cultural landscapes, a category of World Heritage.
Generously supported by the Greek Government, the Prize, bears the name of Melina Mercouri, former Minister of Culture of Greece and a strong advocate of integrated conservation.
The Prize strives to promote the importance of integrated conservation and sustainable management of cultural landscapes, as advocated by Melina Mercouri, which can contribute significantly to sustainable development and thus to the achievements of the goals set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- Zero Hunger;
- Sustainable Cities and Communities;
- Life Below Water;
- Clean Water and Sanitation;
- Responsible Consumption and Production;
- Life on Land;
- Decent Work and Economic Growth;
- Climate Action;
- Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions.
- The US $30,000 Prize is awarded every two years to one laureate.
- Who may submit nominations for the Prize?
- Governmental agencies from UNESCO Member States, in consultation with their National Commissions for UNESCO;
- NGOs that have official partnerships with UNESCO; and
- International, regional and national professional, academic and non-governmental organizations active in the field of cultural landscapes.
- Who is eligible?
- Individuals, site managers, institutions, other entities, communities, or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have made a significant contribution to the safeguarding, management, and enhancement of the world’s major cultural landscapes.
Why are cultural landscapes important?
Cultural landscapes can …
- Provide various resources and services that enhance the well-being and livelihoods of people, such as food, clean water, fuel, building and production materials, medicinal plants, and job opportunities, including in the sustainable tourism sector;
- Enhance the resilience of communities by, for example, strengthening food security and social cohesion, and by helping them to adapt to climate change and mitigating disaster risks, notably through the use of traditional knowledge and practices built upon a deep understanding of the natural environment;
- Maintain rich biological, cultural and agricultural diversity, notably through the use of traditional forms of land use;
- Enhance cultural diversity by maintaining cultural and spiritual linkages with natural surroundings and by connecting past, present, and future generations.
What kind of challenges are they facing?
- Degradation due to unplanned infrastructure development and urbanization, modernization of land-use techniques, pollution, civil unrest, or unsustainable tourism;
- Abandonment or lack of people to manage landscapes, due to depopulation, aging of populations, and changes in traditional ways of life and knowledge systems;
- Increasing disaster risks and the impact of climate change.
For more information, visit https://whc.unesco.org/en/culturallandscapesprize/