New draft ICOMOS Charters submitted to the 16th ICOMOS General Assembly

Dear ICOMOS National and International Scientific Committee Presidents,

As you know, the “ICOMOS Procedure for the adoption of a doctrinal text” adopted in 1984 stipulates that “a doctrinal text must have been re distributed in its revised form to all the National Committees for information, at least three months before the General Assembly”

On behalf of Maria-Rosa Suarez Inclan Ducassi (President of the ISC Cultural Routes) and Neil Silbermann (President of the ISC Interpretation and Presentation) I am therefore, re-circulating to you, within the three month deadline, the final versions of the two draft doctrinal texts that will be going forward to the 16th ICOMOS General Assembly in Quebec for ratification:

Draft - ICOMOS Charter on Cultural Routes
. Chronology of its drafting process

Draft - ICOMOS Charter on the Interpretation and Presentation of Cultural Heritage Sites
. Chronology of its drafting process

Both draft charters have fulfilled all the requirements of the ICOMOS Procedure and were given approval to go forward to the 16th General Assembly by the ICOMOS Executive Committee at its last meeting in Pretoria, end 2007.

Below you also have the short announcements published in ICOMOS News 1/2008 published this June, through which the entire ICOMOS membership was made aware of these documents.

With best regards.

Yours sincerely,

Gaia Jungeblodt
Director
ICOMOS International Secretariat

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The ICOMOS Charter on the Interpretation and Presentation of Cultural Heritage Sites

The proposed ICOMOS Charter on the Interpretation and Presentation of Cultural Heritage Sites—to be presented for ratification at the 16th ICOMOS General Assembly— deals with the methods and technologies of effective, responsible public heritage communication. Indeed, the need for internationally-accepted principles of interpretation and presentation is a matter of increasing urgency at a time of intensifying environmental and human threats to heritage and with the growth in many regions of elaborate heritage “theme-parks,” designed primarily for income generation rather than conservation or education.

The final text of this Charter, developed under the auspices of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Interpretation and Presentation (ICIP), does not prescribe specific content for site presentations, nor does it impose a “uniform” pattern on how particular monuments, sites, or cultural landscapes should be explained to the public. Rather, it deals with the fundamental issues of “Access”, “Information Sources,” “Context and Setting”, “Authenticity”, “Inclusiveness”, “Sustainability”, and “Research, Education, and Training”. It seeks to ensure that these issues are considered and incorporated into public communication with all heritage stakeholders, including tourists, local and associated communities, and local educational systems.

After extensive revision and comment by an editorial committee appointed by the ICOMOS Executive Committee in January 2004; consultation with an advisory panel of other ICOMOS specialists in June 2004; internal comment and revision by the members of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Interpretation and Presentation (ICIP); seven drafts and three rounds of review and comment by ICOMOS National and Scientific Committees between 2004 and 2007, we believe that this text represents a consensus by the ICOMOS community on the central principles of the interpretation and presentation of cultural heritage sites. For more information on the activities of ICIP please visit our web site at: http://icip.icomos.org/

Neil Silberman
President of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Interpretation and Presentation

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The ICOMOS Charter on Cultural Routes

In 1993, on the occasion of the evaluation of the Route of Santiago as a UNESCO World Heritage site, ICOMOS raised the need to better define this specific category of cultural heritage not encompassed by any of those established by the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention at that time.

In November 1994, a first meeting contributed to this task but did not clearly delineate and define this new category or establish an appropriate methodology for its identification and management. Members from many countries continued to work on this subject, leading to the creation of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Cultural Routes (CIIC) in 1998.

As a result of the CIIC’s efforts and the growing interest in Cultural Routes, the revised World Heritage Operational Guidelines issued in 2005 recognized the existence of Heritage Routes as a new category, including both Natural Routes, such as the migratory movements of birds, and Cultural Routes. This recognition made it necessary for ICOMOS, both as a scientific body and as advisor to UNESCO, to contribute to clearly establishing the conceptual and operational aspects concerning the latter.

Following over a decade of in-depth reflection, matched by the field experience gained through numerous research projects around the world, as well as scientific meetings and publications, the CIIC has developed a definition, basic principles and a specific methodology for the identification, research and proper assessment of cultural routes, as well as some guidelines aiming at their protection, conservation, correct use and management. These aspects are reflected in the proposed ICOMOS Charter on Cultural Routes, which after consultation among the CIIC members, distribution to all the ICOMOS National and International Committees for comment, and submission to the Executive Committee, will be presented for ratification at the forthcoming ICOMOS General Assembly (Quebec 2008).

Maria-Rosa Suarez Inclan Ducassi
President of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Cultural Routes

   
           
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