In addition to the legislation of the Czech Republic, the situation in heritage care in our territory is also governed by certain provisions resulting from international agreements.
The UNESCO Agreement
One of the most important documents is the Convention concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage, which links the protection of cultural heritage with the protection of nature. It was passed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The convention is a unique, internationally binding legal document, connecting the principles of protection of cultural heritage with the protection of nature. Its purpose is to unify the care for natural and cultural assets in member countries, and help identify, protect, restore and present the world’s most important heritage.
Based on this convention, the World Heritage List has been made, including heritage sites of extraordinary cultural value. Since the 1990s, Czech sites are listed as well.
The responsibility for the compliance with the Convention concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage, i.e. care for cultural heritage in cooperation with the UNESCO, lies with the Ministry of Culture.
The care for UNESCO heritage sites in the Czech Republic is provided by the National Heritage Institute, cooperating in the preparation of materials for the nomination of further sites, and making background materials for monitoring of enlisted sites or for providing further information regarding their protection and care. The owners and managers of the UNESCO sites are offered assistance in meeting the requirements resulting from the international importance of these sites. The National Heritage Institute also monitors the situation and conditions of the sites, and provides background materials for the Ministry of Culture, or for the World Heritage Center.
Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict
Heritage sites were destroyed during the wars, which led to the establishment of the list of the most important cultural assets which require special protection in case of armed conflict. The appropriate heritage sites are enlisted by UNESCO based on the application of the country of origin. Based on the Second Protocol to the Hague Convention from 1954, the enlisted heritage sites would be marked with a special symbol, and access would be provided for international supervision. No site in the Czech Republic is currently enlisted but there are preparations made to include some of them.
Documents of the international and European law
In heritage care, the Czech Republic follows a number of international documents including the international law provisions. Their overview is available on the website of the Ministry of Culture. In terms of material cultural heritage, most important are the following documents:
- European Landscape Convention (No. 13/2005 of the Collection of International Agreements)
- European Convention for the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (No. 99/2000 of the Collection of International Agreements)
- European Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage (No. 73/2000 of the Collection of International Agreements)