From the emergence of the concept of World Heritage to the creation of ICOMOS

Until the end of the 19th century, architectural heritage had been a matter of national concern only et most of the laws regarding the protection of historic buildings in Europe date back to that period. Countless association existed in each country, but their scope never went beyond national borders. Cultural internationalism, as we know it today, was an outcome of the first World War, with the creation of the League of Nations, and most of all of the second World War, with the creation of the United Nations Organisation and the establishment of the UNESCO.

The Athens Conference (1931) on restoration of historic buildings was organised by the International Museums Office, and the Athens Charter, drafted by Le Corbusier at the fourth Assembly of the International congresses on Modern Architecture (1933) was published anonymously in Paris in 1941 both represent a major step in the evolution of ideas because they reflect a growing consciousness among specialists all over the world, and introduced for the first time in history the concept of international heritage.

The Venice Charter was born from the need to create an association of specialists of conservation and restoration independent of the already existing associations of museologists, ICOM.
In 1957, in Paris, the First Congress of Architects and Specialists of Historic Buildings recommended that the countries which still lack a central organisation for the protection of historic buildings provide for the establishment of such an authority and, in the name of UNESCO, that all member states of UNESCO join the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) based in Rome.

The Second Congress of Architects and Specialists of Historic Buildings, in Venice in 1964, adopted 13 resolutions, the first one being the International Restoration Charter, better known as Venice Charter, and the second one, put forward by UNESCO, provided for the creation of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) 

To learn more about ICOMOS History : Scientific Journal - 30 years of ICOMOS

Adopted by the Constituent Assembly of ICOMOS in Warsaw (Poland) on 22 June 1965 and amended by the 5th General Assembly (Moscow, USSR) on 22 May 1978, and the 18th General Assembly (Florence, Italy) on 12 November 2014.

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Rules of Procedure
The Rules of Procedure for the General Assembly are being redrafted again, following the entry into force in January 2015 of the amended Statutes adopted by the General Assembly in Florence in 2014. The new draft rules will be reviewed by the Bureau in June 2015 and published shortly thereafter.   

Ethical Principles 
These Ethical Principles wee adopted  by the 18th General Assembly (Florence, Italy) on 12 November 2014 to replace the Ethical Commitment Statement adopted by the 13th General Assembly (Madrid, Spain) in 2002

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The Statutes, Ethical Commitment Statement, Rules of Procedures, Policy Papers, and practical information on programmes and statutory meetings are grouped in the ICOMOS Handbook. 


Amendment of the Statutes and Ethical Commitment Statement
Archives of the amendment and revision process of the ICOMOS Statutes and the Ethical Commitment Statement - in the run up to the 18th General Assembly (Florence, Italy, November 2014)

To access this ‘members only’ webpage with all related documents, members have to log in first (see top of the page) using the same password as for the membership database. 












ICOMOS 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. Its work is based on the principles enshrined in the 1964 International Charter on the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites (the Venice Charter).

ICOMOS is a network of experts that benefits from the interdisciplinary exchange of its members, among which are architects, historians, archaeologists, art historians, geographers, anthropologists, engineers and town planners.

The members of ICOMOS contribute to improving the preservation of heritage, the standards and the techniques for each type of cultural heritage property : buildings, historic cities, cultural landscapes and archaeological sites

ICOMOS facts and figures (03/2015):

9.500 Individual Members in 144 countries
110 National Committees
28 International Scientific Committees


Additional information