This UNESCO Prize for Culture was created in 1995 to reward outstanding actions to safeguard the world’s cultural landscapes, a category of World Heritage. Supported by the Greek Government, it bears the name of Melina Mercouri, former Minister of Culture of Greece who strongly advocated for integrated conservation respectful of environment, cultural traditions and historical values.
The only international prize in the UNESCO Culture sector, the Melina Mercouri Prize rewards outstanding efforts to protect and manage the world’s cultural landscapes.
Created in 1995, the award is named after Melina Mercouri, the former Minister of Culture for Greece, who was a strong advocate of integrated conservation.
Cultural landscapes can be works of nature or manufactured, urban or rural, and embody a long and intimate relationship between people and their natural environment.
With the threats from degradation, neglect and disaster increasing, the Prize seeks to shine a light on the importance of integrated conservation and sustainable management of these cultural landscapes as a vital contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
In 2019 the Prize was awarded to Instituto do Património Cultural (Cultural Heritage Institute) in Cabo Verde for its outstanding contribution to the safeguarding, management and sustainable development of the Natural Park of Cova, Paul and Ribeira da Torre. The Natural Park is an emblematic example of Cabo Verde’s mountain wetlands and one of its most important agricultural ecosystems. The management of the natural park has been guided by the commitment and involvement of the park’s inhabitants, ensuring the sustainable use of resources.