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| 1. What is World Heritage?

The word patrimony in Spanish comes from the Latin patrimonium: “inheritance, paternal property”. This word is composed of pater (father) and -monium, a suffix that comes from the Latin verb “monere”, which indicates “condition, state, action”. Together they can be translated as "what resembles the father". The expression emphasizes the past and the respect due to it. Thus, most Romance languages use the word "inheritance". In Spanish and Italian, patrimonio; and in French, patrimoine.  

In English, on the other hand, the word heritage is used: heritage is understood as what is received, safeguarded and transmitted. It insists on the idea of the future and on the responsibility of each generation.

World Heritage is the pillar on which humanity builds its memory and develops its multiple identities. The preservation and enhancement of World Heritage is a vital need for all peoples. And we should all be aware of this need, as World Heritage has Outstanding Universal Value.

In recent centuries, humanity has lost great examples of its world heritage for various reasons: armed conflict, terrorism, global warming, lack of resources and care, industrialization, pollution, ignorance, indifference... Today, we continue to witness these irreparable losses.

The fate of World Heritage will depend to a large extent on the commitment of younger generations and current policies and decisions.

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