The Academy on UNESCO Designations and Sustainable Development is a capacity building programme ideated and implemented by the Fondazione Santagata for the Economics of Culture and UNESCO through the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe (based in Venice, Italy).

The main objective of the Academy is to contribute to the achievement of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, through the advancement of institutional and professional capacities of managing authorities, communities and relevant operators from different UNESCO designations from both the Culture and Science sectors.


The Academy on UNESCO Designations and Sustainable Development was launched in 2015 jointly with the exhibition “Behind Food Sustainability”, initially as pilot programme on the double occasion of the United Nations Development Programme “III International Forum on Local Economic Development” and of the EXPO Milan, in collaboration with the United Nations System Staff College and the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization.

UNESCO designations are the most extended global networks of territories and communities committed to safeguarding their cultural and natural resources as drivers for local sustainable development. Relevant actors are faced with the challenge to define long-term policies and short-term actions to effectively manage UNESCO designations, in order to fully harness their development potential while at the same time safeguarding their cultural and natural values. Such objectives can only be achieved through an integrated and participatory approach, spanning several policy areas and ensuring the active engagement of all relevant stakeholders

The main goals of the Academy are to provide an opportunity for the exchange of knowledge and territorial good practices at an international level on the management of cultural and natural sites, and to contribute to the advancement of professional and institutional capacities of managing authorities and relevant operators form UNESCO designated sites, in order to increase the benefits for the local communities and contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The Academy is part of the dissemination activities carried out within the UNESCO Chair in Economics of Culture and Heritage: Strategies for Protection and Development based in Turin.