ICOMOS 13th General Assembly
and International Symposium



The following resolutions of the 13th General Assembly of ICOMOS were adopted on 5 December 2002, after having been presented to the General Assembly in a session chaired by Mrs. Zeynep Ahunbay, vice-president of the General Assembly, at the request of its President. The resolutions had been received by the duly appointed Resolutions Committee and were presented to the Assembly by the Committee's chair, Mrs. Viera Dvorakova, and recorded by its Secretary, Mrs Sarah Jane Brazil. Adoption was by acclamation.

5 December 2002

The Committee is composed of Mrs. Viera Dvorakova (Slovakia, Chair), Sarah Jane Brazil (Australia), Mr. Colin Fortune (South Africa), Mr Ramón Bonfil (Mexico), Mr. Premlall Mahadeo (Mauritius) and Mrs. Maira Vargas Roa (Nicaragua) The Committee received 27 resolutions for consideration.


The 13th General Assembly of ICOMOS, held in Madrid from the 1st to the 5th of December 2002:

1. Expresses its gratitude to HM the Queen of Spain, to the Mayor of Madrid, to the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

Expresses equally its gratitude to ICOMOS Spain and to its President María Rosa Suárez-Inclán Ducassi, for their immense and generous effort, their very warm welcome, the organization of this13th General Assembly and Scientific Symposium, and their financial contribution to support through the established mechanisms, the participation of those who would otherwise not be able to attend the General Assembly and the Scientific Symposium.

Expresses its gratitude to the Spanish authorities that have made it possible to hold these events with both their institutional and financial support:

The Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport; Xunta de Galicia; Principado de Asturias; Comunidad Foral de Navarra; Gobierno de la Rioja; Diputación General de Aragón; Generalitat de Cataluña; Junta de Castilla y León; Generalitat Valenciana; Comunidad Autónoma de Madrid; Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha; Región de Murcia; Junta de Andalucía; Gobierno de las Islas Baleares; Gobierno de Canarias; The School of Civil Engineering of the Polytechnic University of Madrid; The City Council of Ubeda; The City Council of Baeza; The City Council of Aranjuez; The City Council of Madrid

2. Expresses its gratitude to the Getty Grant Program of the J.Paul Getty Trust for the financial contribution to support the participation of those who would otherwise not be able to attend the General Assembly and the Scientific Symposium.

3. Expresses its gratitude to the French authorities, notably the Ministry of Culture and Communication and the City of Paris for the steady support accorded mainly in hosting the International Secretariat of ICOMOS.

Expresses equally its gratitude to the National ICOMOS Committee of France for its valuable support in relations with the French Authorities.

4. Expresses its gratitude to the Belgian authorities in particular for the support provided by the heritage administration of the Walloon Region.

5. Expresses its gratitude to the International Secretariat for its work in preparation of, and during, the 13th General Assembly, and to the volunteers, in support of the organizing committee.

6. Expresses its appreciation for the harmonious relations between ICOMOS and various services of UNESCO, and thanks to Dr. Koïchiro Matsuura, the Director-General of UNESCO for his steady support of the International Secretariat.

7. Expresses its appreciation for the presence of Mr. Francesco Bandarin, Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, during the opening session of the General Assembly.

8. Expresses its appreciation for the creation of 18 new ICOMOS National Committees in Andorra, Armenia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Namibia, Nepal, Palestine (observer), Republic of Belarus, Republic of Korea, Republic of Kazakhstan, Swaziland, Togo, Uganda, Yugoslavia, for the creation of a new Scientific Committee on Polar Heritage, and for the presence in Madrid of their delegates. Encourages strongly this continuous growth in the ICOMOS family.


9. The General Assembly adopts the amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the ICOMOS General Assembly.

10. The ICOMOS statutes date back to 1978. Therefore ICOMOS-Sweden proposes that the Standing Committee on Statutes review and update the ICOMOS statutes.

11. The General Assembly adopts the Ethical Commitment Statement. The Statement needs to be translated, retaining the original English version as reference text.

12. The ICOMOS Advisory Committee is concerned that candidates in the present election have used the diplomatic service of their country in developing countries, and certain other nations, to campaign on their behalf.

The Advisory Committee believes that this practice is ethically questionable, undermining the independence of ICOMOS as a non-government organisation and for many other reasons is not a practice that should be encouraged. It hence advises the General Assembly to resolve that the ICOMOS Standing Committee on Statutes be mandated to draft a code of conduct for candidates in future elections.

13. The Credentials Committee, regarding the issue of the handling of support of one committee for the members of another to attend the General Assembly, recommends that it be resolved as follows: a. In the future a transparent and open system of allocation of funds be developed for all situations in which one committee utilises funding which it has raised from any source to support attendance of the members of another committee.

b. A candidate or his/her committee should not be involved in the allocation of assistance to others to attend a General Assembly as this raises questions, justified or otherwise, concerning the objectivity of such grants.

c. The most appropriate method of allocating assistance to members to attend General Assemblies is that of a neutral peer review process at the international level.

d. In the future all funding raised by the international body or by a committee in support of any other to support members who wish to vote at the General Assembly should be channelled through the International Secretariat and allocated by the panel established by the Executive Committee to consider applications for assistance.

14. Regarding the proposition of the Polish National Committee of ICOMOS that the membership fees for members over 65 years old be reduced by 50%, the General Assembly proposes that ICOMOS proceeds with an evaluation and a revision of the fee chart according to categories.

15. The General Assembly reconfirms its commitment to hold the meeting in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, in October 2003 and appeals to National Committees to fully support the 2003 General Assembly and to make it a success.

16. Whereas the indigenous peoples of the world are the inheritors of histories and cultural traditions that vastly pre-date contact with other cultures and influences, and whereas these histories and cultural traditions have very little in common with the colonial societies which often dominate, whereas indigenous people wish to speak with a voice that reflects their experience without the filter of the dominant culture, whereas ICOMOS has participated in a number of activities, such as the Nara meeting and the World Heritage Indigenous Peoples Experts meeting, that have considered the relationship between ICOMOS and communities, and reiterating its commitment, national committees and individual members, to respect and protect local heritage with particular attention to indigenous cultures,

It is hereby proposed that the ICOMOS Executive Committee investigate opportunities for indigenous people to participate in ICOMOS in the manner that is appropriate to the needs of those concerned.

17. Resolution proposed jointly by ICOMOS-Canada and ICOMOS -South Africa.

Reaffirming the spirit of the World Heritage Convention and other international instruments,

Considering that 2002 has been declared unanimously by the General Assembly of the United Nations the UN Year for Cultural Heritage,

Considering that all cultural groups define their environment in diverse ways, where landscapes, sites, urban spaces and buildings acquire an identity that reflects their values,

Reaffirming the principles expressed in the Charters and other statements adopted by ICOMOS (including the Stockholm Declaration 1998 on Human Rights and Heritage and the Ethical Commitment Statement proposed in Madrid),

Building on efforts, reflections, and the many other initiatives to which ICOMOS has contributed since its foundation, including the participation in October 2002 of the South African national committee to the Cape Town conference on the proposed international instrument on cultural diversity, the Nara conference on authenticity (1994) and most recently the international symposium on Cultural Diversity and Heritage, held in Tokyo,

The General Assembly of ICOMOS wishes to express the following:

- Cultural Heritage in its tangible and intangible forms, in particular monuments, sites, ensembles and cultural landscapes, is the primary carrier of cultural diversity at the national and international level.

- The protection, conservation and interpretation of cultural heritage must be included in any activity and instrument that would consider cultural diversity.

ICOMOS expresses its interest and availability in particular to UNESCO in the context of current work on the topic for the preparation of conventions or other instruments dealing with cultural diversity and intangible heritage.

18. Resolution jointly proposed by the National Committee of Israel, the Palestinian Observer Committee and the National Committees of Greece and Canada.

Reaffirming the spirit of the World Heritage Convention particularly considering that the deterioration or disappearance of any item of the cultural and natural heritage constitutes a harmful impoverishment of the heritage of all the nations of the world and recalling that the existing international conventions, recommendations and resolutions concerning cultural and natural property demonstrate the importance, for all peoples of the world, of safeguarding this unique and irreplaceable property, to whatever people it may belong,

Considering the provisions of the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954) and the objectives of the Second Protocol to the Hague Convention (1999),

Recalling the joint UNESCO-ICOMOS Resolution on Information as an instrument for Protection against War Damages to the Cultural Heritage (Sweden 1994),

Reaffirming the right to cultural heritage as an integral part of human rights and the right to have the authentic testimony of cultural heritage as expressed in the ICOMOS declaration marking the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

Regretting the loss of human life as a result of armed conflicts and acts of terrorism, The ICOMOS General Assembly wishes to:

- Express its great concern with the ongoing destruction and constant threat to cultural heritage in Israel and the Palestinian Territories and calls upon all parties to take positive action to respect international agreements,
- Urge all parties to initiate joint actions to protect and promote a rich cultural heritage,
- Offer its support to any request for technical assistance and coordination of activities that may be needed.

19. The International Scientific Committee on Underwater Cultural Heritage proposes the following resolution :

Considering the world-wide importance of a consistent and common approach to the protection and management of underwater cultural heritage,

Reaffirming that the 1996 General Assembly in Sofia adopted the ICOMOS charter on the Protection and Management of the Underwater Cultural Heritage to this end,

Noting that the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage of 2001 has not yet been ratified, but that all countries present at the vote on its adoption, including the United Kingdom, committed themselves to apply the Rules in the Annex of the Convention

ICUCH has noted that the Ministry of Defence of the United Kingdom, in contravention of the Charter and in contravention of Rule 2 of the Convention, is negotiating with a U.S. based commercial company, Odyssey Marine Exploration, to salvage bullion from the wrecksite of HMS Sussex (sunk in 1694), located in deep water close to Gibraltar, which may cause irreparable damage and sets an unacceptable precedent. ICUCH requests the General Assembly to

Express its extreme concern with this situation, and Asks the Executive Committee to take positive action to assess the situation and to bring this grave concern to the attention of the United Kingdom government in the most emphatic way.

20. The remains of the largest Roman gold mine in the world lie in Rosia Montana in Romania. This site is in danger of being totally destroyed by a modern private mining project. Already international donors have decided not to contribute to this project because of the serious threats it puts on the natural and cultural heritage of the region.

ICOMOS strongly urges all interested parties in this project, as well as UNESCO and the international community involved in Romania, to do all they can to prevent the destruction of this important archaeological site. It also calls on the national decision makers to ensure that the international, regional and national protection laws, regulations and resolutions are applied to the site and to other proposals, such as Dracula Park, adversely affecting the cultural heritage of Romania.

21. The European group of ICOMOS requests of UNESCO an evaluation mission that would assess the impacts of the upcoming building of the new archaeological museum in the immediate vicinity of the Athens Acropolis World Heritage Site, in particular on the recently excavated, but yet to be published, archaeological remains. The foundation works of the museum and the anti-seismic measures will undoubtedly destroy the archaeological heritage presently preserved. The International Scientific Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management should also be consulted on this proposal.

22. In view of the increasing number of publications produced by ICOMOS, such as the ones published in the series " Monuments and Sites ", the International Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management considers it essential that the relevant International Scientific Committees be actively involved in all aspects of the publication process, from the assessment of manuscripts to the final printing. This will ensure that the principles expressed in the ICOMOS charters are reflected in its content and that the highest possible professional standards are adhered to.

23. Based on a proposal by the Polish national committee that invited the Executive Committee to consider the possibility of creating an International Scientific Committee on Fortifications and Military Heritage whose protection and conservation are triggered by actual threats, the General Assembly requests the ICOMOS Executive Committee to set up a strategy specifically for the protection of this historic and cultural heritage in a national and international context, and to consider the possibility of setting up a working group, a scientific committee or any other appropriate mechanism.

24. This General Assembly recognizes the importance of risk preparedness in protecting and conserving our cultural heritage from the international to the local level and wishes to encourage ICOMOS to show leadership in the field of risk preparedness.

25. The ICOMOS Advisory Committee draws to the attention of UNESCO and the governments that “façadism” (new construction built behind a preserved historic façade) and the dismantling, transferring and reassembling of buildings are a growing practice, moreover a common practice for urban regeneration. These dramatic choices, dictated mostly by ease and the absence of consideration for the historic fabric and the integrity of heritage should remain as the exception and should never be considered as an identified category of rehabilitation and restoration.

26. In view of the mentioned continuous difficulties regarding the voting process described during the XIII General Assembly of ICOMOS held in Madrid on December 5, 2002, it is proposed that:

The newly elected Executive Committee should prepare for its following meeting the amendments necessary for a better application of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly, with the aim of increasing coherence and simplicity, with particular attention to the adoption of a process requiring only a simple ballot. These amendments should be disseminated to the National Committees at the next Advisory Committee and must be operational by the next General Assembly.
To allow future Credential Committees to work efficiently in the short time available, the Committee recommends that missing and/or amended voting lists and/or proxies must be delivered to the Secretariat on the first day of the General Assembly by 12.00 hrs at the latest.

27. The Advisory Committee is pleased to consider the presence and relevance of ICORP, the International Committee on Risk Preparedness, amongst its ranks since 1997.

Accordingly the Advisory Committee recommends that the General Assembly resolves that: 1. ICORP be entrusted with the role or co-ordination of the various activities of ICOMOS in the field of risk, including the Heritage at Risk survey, reporting, participation in ICBS ( International Committee of the Blue Shield) and links with national and international scientific committees;

2. this role be co-ordinated with a dedicated member of the Executive Committee; and,

3. in addition to any other themes which might be proposed for International Day for Monuments and Sites, a theme which promotes an improved state of protection, something practical and relevant in which more people can be involved. Accordingly the following theme is suggested: " Be aware, Be prepared: effective and practical approaches to mitigate against risks which threaten cultural heritage world wide."

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