US/ICOMOS and ICOMOS Look Ahead to 2021 and Beyond

A Message from President Douglas C. Comer, Ph.D.

Washington, D.C., January 15, 2021

2020 was a year of social and cultural isolation and conflict, internationally and nationally. A Greek poet could not have contrived the tragedy of a global pandemic as a more fitting outcome of the rising tide of nationalism and the worship of autocratic leaders who embody narcissism. Nations, most prominently our own, have turned inward, a course that ultimately will spell disaster in the face of threats that demand cooperation among the states of the world.

We now have the task of acting to mitigate an enormous threat to the health of our planet and the well-being of the world’s population: climate change. While the rest of the developed world has pledged to take serious steps to arrest this, now including China, the U.S. has not.

ICOMOS has identified climate change as the central issue of its Triennial Scientific Plan. It has also established several Working Groups to address issues highly relevant to climate change that will provide input to doctrines and good practices. Among these are Working Groups for:
– Our Common Dignity Rights-Based Approaches (social justice)
– The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals
– Climate Change and Heritage
– Indigenous Heritage
– Emerging Professionals

ICOMOS is comprised of National Committees that represent individual countries, and International Scientific Committees. The work of National Committees will be essential. Each must work within its own country, relying on the efforts of these Working Groups, to deal successfully with global dangers including climate change. In 2020, US/ICOMOS demonstrated leadership in addressing the issues that prompted the formation of ICOMOS Working Groups. In 2021, we will accelerate our involvement. I invite expressions of interest in participating in one or more of these Working Groups. With sufficient involvement by US/ICOMOS members we will be able to form mirror groups within our national organization that will contribute to ICOMOS Working Groups.

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