On December 9, 2022, Douglas C. Comer, Ph.D., President of World Heritage USA, the ICOMOS national committee for the United States, presented the plenary lecture at the General Assembly of the ICOMOS International Committee of Mexico. Entitled, Working Together for the Sustainability of Heritage Sites, his presentation focused on the following topics of common concern and interest:
- Cultural and natural sites endangered or damaged by the construction of the wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
- Inclusion of bi-national sites on the U.S. and Mexican Tentative Lists.
- The International Underground Network to Freedom
- Participation of a student from Mexico in putting together the list of places and people that will go on the Story Map being created for this.
- The reality that all protected sites and landscapes are cultural, even if they have come to the attention of the public because of natural features.
- In the Americas, this is a crucial point because all protected sites and landscapes were once the homelands of indigenous populations displaced by the European settlement of what was seen then as the New World, a name replete with cultural bias.
- This applies to World Heritage Sites that have been inscribed with reference to Outstanding Universal Value criteria seven through ten; by making this point regarding World Heritage Sites, we set an example for all heritage sites and protected areas.
- Acknowledging the cultural importance of protected areas to Indigenous groups and including them in decision-making and management of these.
The stage was set at the ICOMOS Mexico General Assembly for collaboration with World Heritage USA to address and remedy all these points. Stay tuned for coming announcements regarding joint specific programs, project, and activities!