ICOMOS: ICOMOS at HLPF 2018: Making Sure Cultural Heritage is Not Left Behind in Sustainable Development

ICOMOS: ICOMOS at HLPF 2018: Making Sure Cultural Heritage is Not Left Behind in Sustainable Development

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is actively engaging in the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), held at UN Headquarters in New York City from 9-18 July 2018. By providing comments, hosting an official UN HLPF 2018 side event, and participating in daily sessions, ICOMOS remains an essential campaigner for the role of culture and heritage in sustainable development, i.e. Target 11.4 to “protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage” in order to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” (Goal 11).

On 11 July 2018, ICOMOS hosted, and in collaboration with UNESCO, UN-Habitat, the Government of Ireland, and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and the American Planning Association (APA), an official side event at the Japan Society. “Implementing SDG 11.4 through Local Voices and Global Agendas for Cultural & Natural Heritage,” brought together local (US) and international stakeholders who are active in the protection of the world’s natural and cultural heritage to illustrate the vital connection between integrated heritage protection and sustainable development.

The evening’s programming began with a reception and poster presentations where a diverse group of organizations exhibited best practices in sustainable heritage protection and promotion, amongst them Columbia University, Jablonski Building Conservation, the office of Historic Preservation in San Antonio, Pratt Institute, and Hawaii Green Growth, Association for Preservation Technology International, and the Philippine Historic Preservation Society ‘Bakas Pilipinas’. Following the reception, representatives of the co-sponsoring international organizations were joined at the program of speakers by the representatives of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, Columbia University, Sustainable Preservation Initiative and the ICOMOS Risk Preparedness Committee-ICORP showcased the exemplary efforts and best practices of how SDG11, the Urban Goal, can be implemented from the perspective of 11.4.

In response to the alarming gap in the Ministerial Declaration, i.e. the main outcome document of the of HLPF 2018, ICOMOS has partnered with UCLG and Global Planners Network (GPN), to advocate for the inclusion of cultural and natural heritage in this crucial declaration. The organizations have released a statement entitled “Is Heritage left behind in the Ministerial Declaration? Statement for inclusion of cultural and natural Heritage with reference to SDG 11 and other goals.” The Heritage statement can be downloaded at https://www.icomos.org/images/SDG/IS_HERITAGE_LEFT_BEHIND_IN_MIN.DEC._20180710rev.pdf.

ICOMOS had also provided comments in April 2018 for the NGO Major Group’s Position Paper for the HLPF 2018, being a member of this cluster of stakeholders in the UN system. The Position NGO MG Paper can be downloaded at http://nebula.wsimg.com/d03c4383dcb3efb60dbf9eb636968d64?AccessKeyId=E3A2183630CD52C7534E&disposition=0&alloworigin=1.

The advocacy for culture and heritage within the sustainability agenda was featured both in the UCLG Culture Committee website (http://www.agenda21culture.net/news/culture-hlpf-2018) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) blog (https://blogs.ifla.org/lpa/2018/07/12/culture-on-the-agenda-heritage-in-the-sustainable-development-goals/).

You can follow and join the social media campaign of ICOMOS at the Twitter account @icomosSDG2030, using the hashtags #HLPF2018Heritage, #culturenature, #SDG11.4 and #HeritageTarget.

Article by Ege Yildirim & Elizabeth Volchok
Photo Credits: ICOMOS (CC) / Pexels (CC)