The Norms of Quito - 1967

Final Report of the Meeting on the Preservation and Utilization of Monuments and Sites of Artistic and historical Value held in Quito, Ecuador, from November 29 to December 2, 1967


I. Introduction

The fact that the essential preservation and utilization of the monumental heritage has been included in the multi-national effort that the American governments pledge to carry out is encouraging from a twofold standpoint: first, because thereby the chiefs of state have expressly recognized the existence of an urgent situation, demanding inter-American cooperation; and second, because since the fundamental reason for the meeting at Punta del Este [Uruguay] was the common aim of giving new impetus to the development of the hemisphere, there is implicit recognition that those cultural heritage resources are an economic asset and can be made into instruments of progress.

The rapid rate of impoverishment of most of the American countries as a result of the neglect and lack of protection of their monumental and artistic wealth requires both national and international emergency measures. But in the last analysis, the practical efficacy of these measures will depend upon the value of the cultural heritage in the cause of economic and social development.

The recommendations of this report are made with that aim in mind and are directed specifically to the adequate preservation and utilization of monuments and sites of archaeological, historic, and artistic value, in accordance with the provisions of Chapter V, paragraph d, Multinational Efforts, of the Declaration of the Presidents of America.

Notwithstanding, in view of the close relationship between architectural and artistic wealth, it is essential to recognize that other valuable resources and objects of the cultural heritage must be properly protected to prevent their continuing deterioration and unrestricted demolition. It is also essential that these resources be suitably exhibited, in accordance with modern museographic techniques, so that the aims sought through them may be achieved.


1. Since the idea of space is inseparable from the concept of monument, the stewardship of the state can and should be extended to the surrounding urban context or natural environment. However, a monumental zone, structure, or site may exist, even though none of the elements composing it deserve such a designation when individually considered.

2. Scenic areas and other natural wonders receiving state protection are not in themselves national monuments. The historic and artistic imprint of man is essential in order for a specific place or site to be eligible for that specific category.

3. Regardless of the intrinsic value of a property or the circumstances determining its historic or artistic importance and significance, it will not constitute a monument until it has been expressly declared as such by the state. Declaration of a national monument entails its official identification and registration. From that time on, the property in question will be subject to the special protection stipulated by law.

4. Every national monument is implicitly designed to fulfill a social function. It is the responsibility of the state to ensure this social function and to determine in each case the extent to which it is compatible with private property and private interests.


1. It is readily apparent that the Americas, and particularly Latin America, are abundantly endowed with monumental resources. In addition to magnificent vestiges of pre-Columbian cultures, this hemisphere offers a varied profusion of architectural and artistic expressions representative of its long cultural history. A native accent, derived from the phenomenon of acculturation, stamps the imported styles with the authentically American flavor of many characteristic and distinctive local expression. Archaeological ruins of outstanding importance, not always accessible or fully explored, together with amazing survivors from the past, urban complexes, and entire towns, can become centers of vivid historic interest and tourist attractions.

2. It is equally apparent that much of this heritage has been wantonly destroyed during the past few decades or is currently in imminent danger of ruin. Many factor have contributed and still contribute to depletion of the inventory of archaeological, historic and artistic properties in most of the Latin American countries, but it must be acknowledged that the basic reason for the increasingly rapid destruction of this potential wealth is the lack of an official policy to enforce current measures for protection effectively and practically, and promote enrichment of the monumental heritage in terms of public interest and the economic benefit of the nation.

3. At this critical juncture when the Americas are engaged in a great progressive endeavor that calls for the exhaustive exploitation of natural resources and the gradual transformation of socio-economic structures, the problems relating to the protection, preservation, and utilization of monumental buildings, sites and areas are particularly important and timely.

4. The entire process of accelerated development entails the expansion of infrastructure and the occupation of extensive areas by industrial installations and construction that tend to alter and even totally disfigure the landscape, erasing the stylistic traits and expressions of the past, evidence of a historic tradition of inestimable value.

5. A great many Latin American cities that until recently contained a rich monumental heritage as evidence of their past grandeur - churches, plazas, fountains and narrow streets that combined to accentuate their personality and attraction - have suffered such mutilation and degradation of their architectural contours that they are unrecognizable. All of this has been done in the name of a misconceived and even more mismanaged urban progress.

6. It is no exaggeration to state that the potential wealth destroyed by these irresponsible acts of urban vandalism in many cities of the hemisphere far exceeds the benefits to the national economy derived from the installations and infrastructural improvements claimed as justification for such acts.


1. The need to reconcile the demands of urban growth with the protection of environmental values is today an inflexible standard in the formulation of regulatory plans at both the local and the national levels. In this respect, every regulatory plan must be carried out in such a way as to permit integration into the urban fabric of historic districts and ensembles of environmental interest.

2. The protection and enhancement of the monumental and artistic heritage does not conflict in either theory or practice with a scientifically developed policy of urban planning. On the contrary, it should serve to complement such a policy. In confirmation of this view, we quote the following text from the Weiss report, submitted to the Cultural and Scientific Commission of the Council of Europe (1963): "It is possible to develop a country without disfiguring it, to prepare for and serve the future without destroying the past. The improvement of living standards should be confined to achievement of a progressive material well- being, it should be associated with the creation of a way of life worthy of mankind."

3. Continuity of the latin American history and cultural horizon, seriously compromised by overwhelming acceptance of a chaotic process of modernization, requires the adoption of measures for the protection, recovery and enhancement of the regional monumental heritage and the preparation of both immediate and long-range national and multi-national plans.

4. It must be acknowledged that international specialized agencies have recognized the scope of the problem and have made every effort in recent years to find satisfactory solutions. The Americas can draw on their store of experience.

5. Since the 1932 Charter of Athens, many international congresses have helped shape the current dominant view. Among those most deeply concerned with the problem and that have made specific recommendations are the International Union of Architects (Moscow, 1958); the Congress of the International Federation of Housing and Urbanism (Santiago de Compostela, 1961), which dealt with the problem of historic compounds, the Congress of Venice (1964), and the most recent ICOMOS meeting (Cáceres, 1867), which offered an eminently practical approach to this question of vital interest to the Americas.


1. Let us assume that archaeological, historic and artistic monuments are economic resources in the same sense as the natural wealth of the country. Consequently, measures conducive to their preservation and proper utilization not only relate to development plans, but constitute or should constitute a component of such plans.

2. In the broader sphere of inter-American relations, repeated recommendations and resolutions of various agencies of the system gradually raised the problem to the highest level of consideration: the Meeting of the Heads of State (Punta del Este, 1967).

3. It is obvious that consideration at this meeting of the problem of adequate protection and use of archaeological, historic and artistic heritage stemmed from the same basic reasons that led the heads of state to convoke the meeting: the need to give the Alliance for Peace new and more vigorous impetus and to offer, though hemispheric cooperation, the additional assistance required for economic development of the OAS member countries.

4. This explains the use of the word "use" appearing in Chapter V, A., item 2, of the Declaration of Presidents:

Multinational efforts:

. . .
2. Instructing the appropriate agencies of the OAS to:
. . .

d. Extend inter-American cooperation to the preservation and use of the archaeological, historic and artistic monuments."

5. More specifically, Resolution 2 of the Second Special Meeting of the Inter-American Cultural Council, [which] called for the sole purpose of implementing the provisions of the Declaration of the Presidents within the sphere of competence of the Council, reads:

. . . the extension of technical assistance and financial aid to the cultural patrimony of the member states will be carried out as part of their economic and tourist travel development.

6. In short, it is a question of mobilizing national efforts with a view to securing optimum utilization of available monumental resources as an indirect means of promoting national economic development. This implies preliminary planning at the national level, that is, the evaluation of available resources and the preparation of specific projects within a general regulatory plan [master plan].

7. The extension of inter-American cooperation to this aspect of development implicitly recognized the fact that the national effort is not in itself equal to an endeavor which, in most cases, exceeds its real possibilities. Only through multinational action can many developing member states procure the essential technical services and financial resources.


1. The term "enhancement," which is becoming increasingly common among specialists in the field. is particularly apt as applied to the Americas today. If anything characterizes America's present, it is precisely the urgent need for making maximum use of all its resources, which unquestionably include the cultural heritage of the nations.

2. To enhance the usability and value of a historic or artistic property is to provide it with the objective and environmental conditions that, without detracting from its nature, emphasize its characteristics and permit its optimum use. The enhancement should be construed to operate on the basis of a transcendent purpose. In the case of Latin America, this purpose would undoubtedly be to contribute to the economic development of the region.

3. In other word, it is a question of incorporating an economic potential. a current value, of making an unexploited resource productive by a process of revaluation that, far from lessening its strictly historic or artistic significance, enhances and raises it from the exclusive domain of erudite minorities to the awareness and enjoyment of the masses.

4. To sum up, enhancing the usability and value of the monumental and artistic patrimony implies a systematic, eminently technical action, aimed at utilizing each and every one of those properties in accordance with its nature, stressing and enriching their characteristics and merits to a point where they can fully perform the new function assigned to them.

5. It must be noted that to some extent, the site of a structure of major interest is compromised by a neighborhood surrounding it, which means that it will in a way become a part of the local setting once it has been enhanced. Therefore, standards for protection and enrichment must be extended to the entire environment of the monument.

6. Moreover, enhancement of the usability and value of a monument reflect favorably upon its urban surrounding and even beyond this immediate area to more distant ones. This increase in the real value of a property by reflective impact is a type of increment that must be taken into account.

7. Obviously, insofar as a monument attracts visitors, so will there be more merchants interested in installing appropriate establishments under its protective shadow. This is another predictable result of enhancement and implies the adoption of regulatory measures that which, while facilitating and encouraging private initiative, prevent commercialization of the site and loss of its original purpose.

8. The foregoing indicates the diversity of monuments and buildings of marked historic and artistic interest located within the center of environmental wealth are mutually related and exert a multiplier effect on the rest of the area that would be enriched as a whole as a result of a plan for enhancing and repairing its principal structures.


1. Intrinsic cultural values are neither weakened nor compromised by association with tourist interests; on the contrary, the increased attraction of the cultural properties and the growing number of outside admirers confirm awareness of their importance and national significance. A properly restored monument, an urban complex that has regained its original values, are not only living lessons of history, but legitimate reasons for national pride. In the broader framework of international relations, these testimonials from the past stimulate understanding, harmony and spiritual communion even between countries that are political rivals. Anything that help enhance spiritual values, however far removed from the intention to promote culture, will necessarily benefit that culture. Europe owes to tourism, directly or indirectly, the salvation of much of its cultural heritage condemned to complete and irreparable destruction, and modern man, more visually than literarily sensitive, finds increasing opportunities for self-enrichment through viewing examples of western civilization, scientifically rescued because of the powerful incentive of tourism.

2. If cultural properties play such an important role in tourist travel, it is only logical that the investment required for their proper restoration and equipment, within a specialized technical framework, should be made simultaneously with those demanded by the travel industry and, more properly, that both should be included within a single economic regional development plan.

3. The United Nations Conference on International Travel and Tourism (Rome, 1953) not only recommends that high priority be assigned to tourist investments under national plans, but emphasized that "from the tourist standpoint, the cultural, historic and natural heritage of nations os quite an important factor;" therefore, it urged "the adoption of adequate measures designed to ensure the preservation and protection of that heritage" (Final Report, Doc.4). The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (1964), in turn, recommended that both government and private financing agencies and organizations "offer assistance, in the most appropriate form, to work aimed at the conservation, restoration and desirable use of archaeological, historic and scenic sites" (Resolution Annex A, IV.24). Recently, the Economic and Social Council of that world agency, after recommending that the General Assembly designate 1967 as International Tourist Year, resolved to invite the United Nations organizations and the specialized agencies to give "favorable consideration to the request for technical and financial assistance to the developing countries, in order to accelerate improvement of their tourist resources (Resolution 1109-XL).

4. In connection with this topic, which has received special attention form the UNESCO General Secretariat, an exhaustive study has been conducted in collaboration with a nongovernmental agency of great prestige, the International Union of Official Tourist Travel Agencies. This study confirms the criteria outlined, and after analyzing the cultural, educational and social reasons for the use of monumental resources as part of tourist promotion, stresses the economic benefits deriving form that policy for the corresponding areas. Two extremes of particular interest should be noted: a) the tourist traffic deriving form the suitable restoration of the value of the monument ensures rapid recovery of the capital invested for that purpose; b) tourist activity resulting from adequate presentation from a monument that would disappear without such activity entails profound economic transformation of the region in which the monument is set.

5. Within the inter-American system, in addition to the many recommendations and agreements highlighting the importance that should be assigned at both the national and regional levels to the problem of the present neglect of much of the cultural heritage of the countries in the hemisphere, recent specialized meetings have approached the specific topic of the roles played by monuments of artistic and historic interest in the development of the tourist industry. The Technical Committee on Tourist Travel Promotion, at its fourth meeting (July-August 1967), resolved to support the conclusions adopted by the corresponding Committee on Travel Industry, which include the following:

The monuments and other assets of an archaeological, historical, and artistic nature can and should be properly preserved and utilized for development purposes as prime attractions for the influx of tourists.

In countries with a rich heritage of archaeological, historic and artistic interest, that heritage should constitute a decisive factor in their tourist plan, and should therefore, be taken into account in the final form of the pertinent plans.

Activities of a strictly cultural nature and those relating to tourism have a common interest in the proper preservation and utilization of the monumental and artistic heritage of the American nations, which makes it advisable for the agencies and technical units in both fields of inter-American activity to work along these lines in a coordinated manner.

6. From the tourist standpoint exclusively, monuments are a fundamental part of the "plant" available for operating that industry in a given regions, but the extent to which this monument can serve the use to which it is put will depend not only on its intrinsic value, that is, its archaeological, historic or artistic significance, but on the attendant circumstances facilitating its proper utilization. Therefore, restoration in itself may not always be sufficient to ensure that a monument be exploited and become part of the travel plant of a region. It may be just as necessary to undertake such other infrastructure works as access roads and visitors lodges - all in keeping with the environmental nature of the region.

7. The economic and social advantages of tourist travel vis-a-vis monuments are evident in most modern statistics, particularly in those European countries that owe their present prosperity to international tourism and include among their major sources of wealth the inventory of their cultural properties.


1. Presumably, initial efforts aimed at enhancing the monumental heritage meet a broad area of resistance within the sphere of private interests. Years of official negligence and the impulsive zeal for renewal that characterizes the developing nations increase contempt for all traces of the past that fail to conform to the ideal pattern of a modern way of life. Lacking sufficient civic training to look upon social interest as an exaggerated form of individual self-interest and unable to appreciate what is best for the community from the objective standpoint of the public good, the inhabitants of a community, infected by the "fever of progress," are unable to gauge the consequences of the acts of urban vandalism recklessly carried on through the indifference or complicity of the local authorities.

2. An alarm can and should be sounded and vigilant preventive action taken by each community. Regardless of what they are called and how they are composed, the encouragement of civic groups dedicated to protecting the cultural heritage, has had excellent results, especially in localities that do not yet have urban regulations and where protective action at the national level is weak or not always effective.

3. Nothing can contribute more to the awakening of awareness than seeing the example itself. Once the results of certain world of restoration and renewal of buildings, plazas and sites are apparent, the public usually reacts favorably, calling for a halt to destructive action and supporting the attainment of more ambitious objective.

4 In any case, the spontaneous and extensive collaboration of individuals in plans for enhancing the use and value of the historic and artistic heritage is absolutely essential in small communities. Consequently, the preparation of such plans should take into account the advisability of a related program of civic education developed systematically and simultaneously with the execution of the plan.


1. Proper utilization of monuments of major historic and artistic interest requires, first of all, the coordination of cultural and economic initiatives with efforts on behalf of tourism. The more fully these convergent interests harmonize and relate, the more satisfactory the ultimate result will be.

2. This necessary coordination cannot take place unless that country concerned has the legal conditions and technical instrument required to do so.

3. Within the cultural framework, the following are prerequisites to any official objective to enrich the monumental heritage: effective legislation, technical organization and national planning.

4. Cultural and economic projects should be integrated at the national level as a preliminary step to any negotiation for external assistance or cooperation. Such cooperation, whether technical or financial, is a supplement to the national effort. It is up to the governments of the member states to take the initiative; the countries have the responsibility of formulating their projects and integrating them into their general development plans. The following measures and procedures are directed towards these ends:


1. Projects for enhancing the value of the monumental heritage are part of national development plans and, consequently, should be integrated into them. Investments required for putting these project into effect should be made simultaneously with those needed by the travel infrastructure of the area or region whose value is to be restored.

2. It is up to the government to endow the country with the conditions that will enable it to formulate and carry out specific projects for value enhancement.

3. To achieve the foregoing results, the following is required:

  1. the granting of high priority within the national development plan to projects enhancing the value of monumental wealth;
  2. Suitable legislation, or in its absence, other governmental regulations to facilitate enhancement projects, maintaining the public interest throughout.
  3. Coordinated management of the project through a qualified institution, capable of centralizing its implementation in all stages;
  4. Designation of a technical team that may count on external assistance while specific project are being formulated or implemented.

4. Enhancing the value of monumental wealth can only be achieved through planned action, that is, in accordance with a regulatory plan of national or regional scope. Consequently, it is essential that the projects promoted be integrated with regulatory plans existing in the city or region concerned. If such plans do not exist, they should be established in a consistent way.

5. Cultural interests relative to the monuments or environmental complexes concerned must be coordinated with tourist travel interests, and this should be accomplished by the coordinating entity of the project referred to in paragraph c.3. as a preliminary step to any external technical or financial assistance.

6. The cooperation of private interests and the support of public opinion are essential to carry out any enhancement project. In that respect during the formulation of the project, a civic campaign should be conducted to arouse favorable public awareness.


1. It is advisable to reiterate that the countries of the Americas should adhere to the Venice Charter as a universal principle in matters of preservation of historic and artistic monuments and sites, without prejudice to adopting any other agreements or commitments within the Inter- American System.

2. To extend the generalized concept of monument to cultural expressions of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.

3. To link the much-needed revalorization of the historic and artistic heritage of the American Nations to other countries outside the hemisphere, especially to Spain and Portugal, given the historic role that both have played in building this heritage and the common cultural values that unite them to the countries of this hemisphere.

4. That the Organization of American States extend the cooperation it has agreed to provide towards the enhancement of monuments of archaeological, historic and artistic interest to other heritage resources represented in museum and archival collections and in the sociological wealth inherent in national folklore.

5. Because restoration ends where speculation begins, it is absolutely necessary that any work of this kind be preceded by preliminary historical research. Since archives in Spain contain an abundance of charts and maps of the cities of the Americas, documentation on fortifications and numerous buildings, plus other copious official documentation, and since the cataloguing of those documents was halted with those pertaining to most of the colonial buildings, making their use extremely difficult, it is highly recommended that the Organization of American States cooperate with Spain in updating and facilitating research in Spanish archives, especially that of the Indies in Seville.

6. That a new inter-American document be drafted to replace the Treaty on the Protection of Moveable Property of Historic Value of 1935, that will be capable of a more effective and extensive protection of this important sector of the cultural heritage of the hemisphere from the many risks that threaten it.

7. Pending completion of the foregoing, that at its next meeting, the Inter American Cultural Council ask all member states to adopt emergency measures to stop the illegal traffic of cultural property and to achieve the repatriation of such objects to their country of origin, once it is proven that they have been smuggled out or illegally acquired.

8. Bearing in mind that the shortage that the scarcity of human resources is a serious handicap to the implementation of plans to enhance cultural value, that resources be made available for the establishment of an Inter American center or institution specializing in restoration training. Furthermore, the existing ann new institutions be strengthened to meet current needs in the restoration of moveable property.

9. Without prejudice to the foregoing and to meet urgent needs immediately, that the General Secretariat of the OAS make use of its Fellowship and Special Training Programs; also that cooperative agreements be established with the Instituto de Cultura Hispánica in Madrid under the Technical Cooperative Agreement OAS-Spain, and with the Centro Regional para la Restauración y Conservación de Bienes Culturales in Mexico.

10. Because it is necessary to exchange experience on problem inherent to the Americas in order to maintain unity of professional criteria, that the Association of Architects Specialized in the Restoration of Monuments temporarily headquartered at the Instituto de Cultural Hispánica in Madrid be recognized, and that its permanent installation in one of the member states be fostered.


1. Protective legislation in effect in member states must be updated to ensure its effective application for the aims sought.

2. Local ordinances governing commercial signage must be revised in order to control the types of advertising that alter the environmental characteristics of urban areas of historic interest.

3. Regarding protective legislation, the urban space occupied by monumental districts or centers of environmental value should be given boundaries as follows:

  1. a rigorously protected zone, corresponding to the greatest monumental density or interest
  2. a zone of protection or respect, with a higher degree of tolerance, and
  3. zone of protection of the urban landscape, in an effort to integrate it with the surrounding natural areas.

4. In bringing legislation up to date, all countries must take into account the increased value of properties included within the enhanced zone, and also to some extent, its environs.

5. Likewise, it must be taken into account the possibility to encourage private enterprise through the establishment of tax exemptions for buildings restored with private capital within the regulations established by responsible agencies. Tax exemptions may also be established as compensation for the restriction imposed on private properties as a result of their public interest.


1. The enhancement of a monument or urban area of environmental interest is the result of an eminently technical process; consequently, its official management should be entrusted to a specialized agency that centralizes all work.

2. Each enhancement project is a unique problem that also demands a unique solution.

3. The technical collaboration of the experts in the various fields that be carrying out the project is absolutely essential. The final outcome will depend largely on the proper coordination of these specialists.

4. The priority given to a project should depend upon the estimated economic benefits that will result for a specific region. But insofar as possible, attention should also be given to the intrinsic significance of the property to be restored or its emergency condition.

5. Generally, every project to enhance cultural value involves economic, historic, technical and administrative problems. Technical problems of conservation, restoration and reconstruction vary according to the type of property. Archaeological monuments, for example, demand the help of specialists in that field.

6. The nature and scope of work to be undertaken on a monument require preliminary decisions that are the result of an exhaustive study of the conditions and circumstances that surround it. Once the intervention and treatments are decided, subsequent work will proceed with absolute respect for the fabric of the monument or the information that will undoubtedly be available in the authentic documents on which the restoration is based.

7. In works of enhancement of environmental areas, the limits and values of those areas must be defined.

8. Once defined and evaluated, the enhancement of an environmental historic area requires:

  1. Study and determination of its eventual use and of the activities to be conducted in the area
  2. Study of the magnitude of the investment and of the stages necessary to complete the restoration and conservation work, including works of infrastructure and adaptations required by the travel industry for the enhancement of the area.
  3. Analytical study of the regulatory ordinance to which the area will be subjected so that existing buildings and new construction may be effectively controlled
  4. A regulation for the areas adjacent to the historic center must be established, as well as regulations for land use, density and volume relationship as determinant factors in the urban and natural landscape.
  5. Study of the investment necessary to make the area hygienic
  6. Study of preventive mechanisms to ensure the continuing maintenance of the area to be enhanced.

9. The limited funding available and the need for training of the technical teams required for enhancement plans make it advisable to formulate preliminary pilot projects in places where economic interests and technical facilities happen to coincide.

10. The enhancement of an urban center of historic or environmental significance the extent of which exceeds immediate financial resources, may and should be planned in multiple stages, which should be carried out progressively in accordance with the needs of the tourist industry, but understanding that the project must be conceived as a whole and that there will be no interruption or postponement in the work of cataloguing, research and inventory.

Guillermo de Zéndegui, Technical Secretary of the Meeting; Renato Soeiro (Brazil); Carlos M. Larrea; José María Vargas; Agustín Moreno; Oswaldo de la Torre; Earle W. Newton; José Manuel González Valcárcel (Spain); Carlos Flores Marini (Mexico); Manuel E. del Monte (Dominican Republic); Manuel del Castillo Negrete (Mexico); Benjamín Carrión; Hernán Crespo Toral (Ecuador); Filoteo Samaniego; Miguel A. Vasco; Carlos Zevallos; Christopher Tunnard; Jorge Luján M.; Fernando Silva Santiesteban; Graziano Gasparini (Venezuela); Pan American Institute of Geography and History, represented by Lidia C. de Camacho.

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