ICOMOS and COVID-19: Heritage as a cornerstone of human, social and economic recovery

COVID-19 and Heritage

ICOMOS and COVID-19: Heritage as a cornerstone of human, social and economic recovery
International Council on Monuments and Sites
04 May 2020
…However, the challenges of recovery are not only economic, but also human and social. The importance of social justice will be re-visited and re-evaluated at many levels, also nationally and internationally, and it will be a central issue in the process of recovery and the post-COVID world.

ICOMOS believes that heritage is not only a driver of sustainable development, but also a cornerstone of human and social recovery following disasters, and our organization intends to make its contribution during and after this pandemic. We live in a world of unparalleled, unpredictable and complex circumstances. A one-size-fits-all approach will not work nor will one-off measures suffice in overcoming the impacts of COVID-19. ICOMOS’ is therefore planning two major activities – with a long term perspective:

First, knowing that recovery will be long and will take various forms, ICOMOS through its global networks, Committees and Working Groups and calling on its diverse expertise, will monitor and assess developments and measures taken across countries for at least the coming three years, from the viewpoint of heritage conservation. ICOMOS will publish annually a published on the recovery from the pandemic, covering both pre-vaccine- and post-vaccine phases, and offer a solid basis for policy recommendations.

Second, ICOMOS believes in the power of place. Being in a historic building or at a significant site is a fundamentally different experience from seeing pictures on a screen. Whilst human values may gain new attention, the importance of heritage may not be recognized by governments in the same manner as before, as they will be overwhelmed by the pressures of the recovery process and competing priorities. ICOMOS must be proactive in ensuring that the policies and measures relevant to heritage that are implemented to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic are well balanced – for instance, that economic stimulus packages take into account the significant role that can be played by heritage and conservation. Such measures, will not only protect heritage, but also the communities that are linked to it. In this context, ICOMOS is launching a series of webinars, covering diverse aspects and issues related to heritage conservation, including impacts of the pandemic, with sessions aimed both at heritage professionals and the wider public…

ICOMOS [International Council on Monuments and Sites] works for the conservation and protection of cultural heritage places. It is the only global non-government organisation of this kind, which is dedicated to promoting the application of theory, methodology, and scientific techniques to the conservation of the architectural and archaeological heritage.
:: 10,546 Individual Members in 151 countries
:: 271 Institutional Members
:: 107 National Committees
:: 28 International Scientific Committees