Process of seeking Expressions of Interest for ICOMOS World Heritage Advisers
Interim Report by Toshiyuki Kono, President of ICOMOS
"Following the completion of the 2018/2019 World Heritage Nominations Cycle, I identified the need to increase the size of the group of Advisers working on ICOMOS World Heritage activities, specifically in order to expand and diversify its international team for the evaluation of cultural and mixed property nominations to the World Heritage List.
The idea was supported by ICOMOS’ Director General and the Director of the ICOMOS World Heritage Evaluation Unit, and approved by the ICOMOS Board.
A Call for Expressions of Interest was organised, which was open not only to ICOMOS members but to all international heritage experts. Drafted in English and French, the call was launched by the ICOMOS International Secretariat to its email list, on the ICOMOS website and via social media in July 2019. A total of 353 applications in response to the call for expressions of interest were received by the closing date, 15 September 2019.
ICOMOS has been pleasantly surprised by the number of applications received, and impressed with the diversity and expertise of the applicants. The high number of applications from both ICOMOS members and non-members demonstrates the breadth of experience and commitment to the conservation of cultural heritage worldwide.
Applicants were requested to demonstrate that they fulfil requirements, which include sound and well-demonstrated professional expertise in cultural heritage conservation; knowledge of the World Heritage Convention; the ability to work with strict deadlines, in conditions of confidentiality and avoiding conflicts of interest.
Some “first round criteria” allowed to filter the applications, and a reduced list of candidates was examined by a Selection Committee, composed of 8 members including ICOMOS Board Members, ICOMOS World Heritage Senior Advisers and International Experts, ensuring gender balance and regional representation. The list of names of the members of the Selection Committee will be published after the selection is completed.
Twenty short-listed applicants, selected by the Selection Committee, were asked to take a ‘test’ which closely resembles the task of Advisers working on nominations. Tests sent to applicants were either in English or French, according to their language skills. This test is currently ongoing and the outcomes will be reviewed anonymously by the Selection Committee and the ICOMOS World Heritage Evaluation Unit team.
Chosen candidates will be part of a mentoring and training programme and will be asked to work on the 2020/2021 World Heritage Nominations cycle.
Finally, because of the enthusiasm shown by so many people to join the ICOMOS World Heritage Advisers Atelier, the ICOMOS International Secretariat will make every effort to work as inclusively as possible. The applicants will be considered for many other World Heritage related works, including the identification of experts for technical evaluations, monitoring or advisory missions, desk or technical reviews and capacity building activities."
Photo: Icomos expert mission on the world heritage site of Forth Bridge, UK, 2014 - copyright Tara Bushe / ICOMOS