Although we are largely not conscious of it, cultural and natural heritage or cultural monuments surround all of us. This tangible legacy of past generations gives us and our descendants an imaginary relay baton to be passed on. What will not be destroyed and will help us offer undistorted information about the life and cultural maturity of our society depends on each of us. Although we might be legal owners of a certain part of the cultural heritage, in terms of time we actually only manage it for a transitional period. We therefore have not only a legal responsibility, but also a moral obligation to take care of cultural monuments.
Cultural and natural heritage is an invaluable and irreplaceable property of every nation, and, ultimately, of all humankind. The loss caused by the decay or disappearance of any of these most precious values means the impoverishment of the heritage of all the nations of the world. Due to their exceptional nature, they deserve protection against the dangers that increasingly threaten them.