UNESCO-Greece Melina Mercouri International Prize for the Safeguarding and Management of Cultural Landscapes
Public Institute of Kozjansko Park in Podsreda
The Public Institute of Kozjansko Park in Podsreda, Slovenia was awarded the 2021 edition of the UNESCO-Greece Melina Mercouri International Prize or the Safeguarding and Management of Cultural Landscapes on the evening of 22 November 2021. The laureate was selected by Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the recommendation of an international jury established for the Prize.
2021 Award Ceremony
UNESCO celebrated the laureate during an official award ceremony in the presence of Lina Mendoni, Greek Minister of Culture and Sport, and Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO. The award was presented at the UNESCO Paris Headquarters as a side event of the 41st Session of the UNESCO General Conference.
Overview and Background
of the Prize
The 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.
The Prize, generously supported by the Greek Government, bears the name of Melina Mercouri, former Minister of Culture of Greece and a strong advocate of integrated conservation.
The US $30,000 Prize is awarded every two years to one laureate.
The last Prize was awarded in November 2021, in connection with the 41st Session of the UNESCO General Conference.
Next edition of the Prize 2023
Call for nominations for the 2023 Prize
Deadline for submitting nominations.
Prize award ceremony at the UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France
Watch a presentation of the UNESCO-Greece Melina Mercouri International Prize for the Safeguarding and Management of Cultural Landscapes
List of laureates
Natural Park of Cova, Paúl & Ribeira da Torre, Cabo Verde
Museum-reservation Of Garni
Battir Cultural Landscape
Islamic Republic of Iran
Planters’ Wood and Old Town of Sidi El Houari, Algeria
Lygra Heathland Centre
Valle De Viñales
The Open-air Art Museum At Pedvale
Selection Criteria and Process
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) that have made a significant contribution to the safeguarding, management and enhancement of the world’s major cultural landscapes.
How to apply?
We have closed the call for applications. We no longer accept submissions.
What is a Cultural Landscape?
Cultural landscapes, defined as the combined works of nature and man, embody a long and intimate relationship between people and their natural environment. Whether found in urban or rural settings, they are all the fruits of diverse human-nature interactions, and thus serve as a living testimony to the evolution of human societies.
Some cultural landscapes are designed and created intentionally by people (such as garden and parkland landscapes), while others evolve organically over time. In some cases, the evolutionary process is “fossilized” in material form (such as those found in prehistoric caves and rock shelters), while others continue to evolve and are still playing an active role in contemporary society (such as cultivated terraces). Some cultural landscapes are considered sacred, especially in places where people possess powerful cultural, religious and often ancestral associations with their natural surroundings.
 Article 1 of the World Heritage Convention; Paragraph 47 of the Operational Guidelines for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention (2017 edition). See also Annex 3 for the three main categories of cultural landscapes, namely: (i) landscape designed and created intentionally by man, (ii) organically evolved landscape, and (iii) associative cultural landscape.
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
Cultural Landscapes contributing to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
The UNESCO-Greece Melina Mercouri International Prize for the Safeguarding and Management of Cultural Landscapes 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.
Relevance of safeguarding and management of cultural landscapes to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices
Protect and restore water-related ecosystem
Protect and restore water-related ecosystem
Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world's cutltural and natural heritage
Achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards abd natural disasters
sutainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems
15.1, 15.2, 15.3, 15.4, 15.5
Ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services
Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable developement
Secretariat of the UNESCO-Greece Melina Mercouri International Prize for the Safeguarding and Management of Cultural Landscapes
UNESCO World Heritage Centre
7 place de Fontenoy
75352 Paris 07 SP France