the ICOM Secretariat, the Programme Activities Sector is
responsible for implementing the ICOM Triennial Programme
adopted at the General Assembly. In this capacity, it supports
the implementation of the programmes adopted by the different
bodies within ICOM (National and International Committees,
Regional Organisations) as and when requested, and coordinates
the programme adopted by the Organisation.
It is responsible for elaborating the programme for the
subsequent triennial period as presented at the General
Assembly and takes care of monitoring the ongoing projects
when these have been adopted.
Finally, in addition to its Triennial Programme activities,
the service ensures the implementation of activities under
contract with UNESCO in the framework ICOM's role as advisor
period was marked by changes in the structure in the Programme
Sector. Valérie Chieze, Programme Activities Officer, left
ICOM in July 1999. She was replaced in this function by
Jennifer Thévenot, and in March 2000, Cristina Menegazzi
from Italy, with previous experience at ICCROM, joined the
Sector as Programme Specialist.
The Sector thus has a permanent staff of only two, which
is extremely limited considering the considerable increase
in activities undertaken over the last six years. Thus it
periodically received the support of other members of the
Secretariat and of temporary personnel. Also, to implement
some projects, it has been working closely with the Communication
The Sector also welcomes interns wishing to gain experience
in an international cultural organisation. Although these
interns do provide assistance which increases its capacity,
this also requires a substantial investment by the permanent
Programme Activities Sector does not have a regular budget
within the Organisation's budget. Each activity undertaken
by the service requires specific funds which have to be
raised by the Secretary General, after preparatory work
by the Programme Sector. This mode of operation explains
why some projects or aspects of the Triennial Programme
are implemented more quickly than others. A further consequence
is that it does not enable activities to be planned entirely
rationally on the long term, as the amount of funds that
will be available cannot be known in advance, and the funding
agencies have their own priorities with regard to countries,
regions and themes.
However, fund raising for programmes of good quality, identifying
the needs of the professionals and demonstrating their high
capacity to develop projects has unquestionably played a
major role in securing the recognition of the Organisation
by many national and international bodies. Fund raising
is also a way for ICOM to play its role as advocate for
museums and the museum profession.
with Other Secretariat Services
The Communication Sector is systematically linked with projects
from the earliest phases. It monitors the preparation and
especially the layout of all documents produced by the Programme
Sector (working documents, programmes, etc.) and, in collaboration
with our service, all the information materials on the activities
implemented. Also, each project is accompanied by a press
campaign under the responsibility of the Communication Service.
Publications by the Programme Activities Sector are produced
in close cooperation with the Communication Sector. Finally,
some programme objectives have a direct need for a communication
policy, especially objectives 8, 9 and 10 concerning the
heritage in danger, promoting the ICOM Code of Professional
Ethics, and developing and encouraging electronic communications
within ICOM. In these cases, the projects are managed jointly
by the two services. Via the activities implemented, the
programme contributes to reinforcing and significantly extending
the existing network of professionals at ICOM.
purpose of some projects is to develop the regional networks
and here, the participation of the Membership Service is
essential. The Information Centre plays a major role in
the collection of documentation for the preparation of the
projects, while ICOM News is an essential instrument
in communicating project information to members. Finally,
the Programme Activities Sector is responsible for managing
the funds granted by the different funding institutions
for specific projects. The Secretariat helps with the accountancy
for the ongoing management as well as the production of
the annual financial reports.
essential Contribution of ICOM Members and Bodies
The success of the activities implemented has only been
made possible by the significant involvement of the ICOM
members concerned and by their institutions. The work of
the Programme Activities Sector in the ICOM Secretariat
is to pool the proposals made by the professionals at the
inception of the projects, set up the contacts between the
professionals or committees, and then provide the support
enabling the professionals to implement the projects themselves.
In this perspective, each project has associated the largest
number of professionals and ICOM National and International
Committees. Without their significant involvement, the Programme
Activities Sector, with its limited human resources, could
not have successfully completed all the projects undertaken.
ICOM General Assembly at Melbourne (Australia) in 1998 adopted
a Triennial Programme for the period 1998-2001 with 11 main
1: Identify and respond effectively to the future needs
and issues faced by museums and the museum profession.
Objective 2: Identify and propose different models of
organisation and financing for museums to ensure they
are able to continue to fulfil their mission in contemporary
Objective 3: Review professional practices relating to
4: Re-examine the mission and structure of ICOM in order
to strengthen our organisation in supporting the development
of museums in the 21st century.
5: Reaffirm the role of ICOM as the International Council
Objective 6: Support museums as instruments of social
and cultural development.
7: Create a programme for the development of the capacity
of museums to address cross-cultural issues.
Objective 8: Defend the heritage in danger.
9: Promote the ICOM Code of Professional Ethics.
10: Develop and encourage electronic communications within
11: Regional programmes.
the last three years 1998, 1999 and 2000, the Programme
Activities Sector has therefore focused on attaining these
objectives by implementing specific programme activities
within Section III of the Triennial Programme -- Priorities
1 and 2: Identify and respond effectively to the future
needs and issues faced by museums and the museum profession;
Identify and propose different models of organisation and
financing for museums to ensure they are able to continue
to fulfil their mission in contemporary society.
the last half of April 2000, the recently opened Nubia Museum
in Aswan, Egypt, hosted three ICOM activities for the development
of museums in the Arab countries, one of which was a Museum
Management Training Workshop for young professionals from
the region. The objective of this workshop was not only
to provide basic management skills for young people beginning
their career in the museum world, but also to create a strong
nucleus for a network for exchange and collaboration within
of ICOM's National Committees or resource persons in the
region were invited to send participants from their countries;
thus, participants from 15 countries within the region benefited
from this training. Working closely together and exchanging
experiences during the workshop, they created a synergy
of conviviality and enthusiasm which sparked proposals for
further regional workshops targeting specific aspects of
museum management: Education and Exhibitions, Security,
ICOM continues to welcome interns in fields related to ICOM's
concerns and activities. The result of one such internship
was a compilation of available documentation on copyright
3 and 7: Review professional practices relating to museums.
project for the Standardisation of Inventories of African
Collections got under way as a result of the alarming observation
of the precarious situation of the African heritage. Collections
were inventoried in a very haphazard manner which enabled
their dispersion and facilitated the frequent theft of objects.
The objectives of the project undertaken with the assistance
of ICOM's International Committee for Documentation were
create inventories of heritage in danger
exchanges of information
a network of assistance amongst museum professionals
up a database on the African heritage
the circulation of information
project underwent many phases from 1993 onwards and resulted
in the publication, in 1996, of the Handbook of Standards.
Documenting African Collections. Tested over three years
on the collections of the six pilot museums and continually
readapted, these standards have already proven their effectiveness,
not only within the individual framework of each museum
but also within the wider framework of exchanges. However
they will attain their objective only when the majority
of the African and Africanist museums have adopted them.
Programme, an ongoing programme of AFRICOM, will be to develop
the terminologies and encourage the use of the standards,
through the organisation of regional workshops, with a view
to the exchange of information, and with the ultimate aim
to protect the heritage across the continent.
1998 two standardisation activities were held: a regional
workshop, from 27 to 31 July, in Jos, Nigeria, and the annual
meeting of the partner museums, in December, in South Africa.
regional workshop in Jos, Nigeria, was organised jointly
by the National Museum of Mali, a co-author of the Handbook
of Standards, the Direction of Museums and Monuments of
Nigeria, and the ICOM Secretariat, with more that thirty
participants from nine West African countries. The choice
of Nigeria as host for the workshop was fully justified
inasmuch as this country has some thirty museums and the
most important collection of African objects of sub-Saharan
The annual meeting of the partner museums was hosted by
the National Cultural History Museum in Pretoria, South
Africa. This meeting convened the partners of the project
since 1993, together with a number of museums involved in
the process of standardising their documentation according
to AFRICOM standards.
Sector also participated in the Asia-Europe Conference on
Museums in Stockholm, "Reforming Museums for the 21st Century",
September 2000, in order to network with the some 60 persons
attending the conference from Asia and Southeast Asia in
view of ICOM programme activities being planned for that
4 and 5: Re-examine the mission and structure of ICOM in
order to strengthen our organisation in supporting the development
of museums in the 21st century; Reaffirm the role of ICOM
as the International Council of Museums.
the framework of the AFRICOM Programme, the AFRICOM Coordinating
Committee designated two of its members to work on networks
and new perspectives for museums in Africa. This working
group which focuses on the development of science and contemporary
art in African museums, organised a meeting in Mauritius,
in February 1999, with resource persons and coordinators
in these fields. It resulted in new directions for the African
museums and project proposals to enrich the discussions
of the AFRICOM Constitutional Assembly scheduled for October
Upon the invitation of the Yugoslav National Committee of
ICOM, the Secretary General and the Programme Activities
Officer undertook a mission to Belgrade and Novi Sad in
January 2000 to meet with the members of the National Committee
and to visit museums and heritage institutions in need of
contacts and assistance and to discuss the means of providing
with all the members of the ICOM Secretariat and in the
context of the Reform Task Force objectives to re-examine
the mission and structure of ICOM, the Programme Activities
Sector took stock of its role and functioning in the form
of reports and participation in various meetings that were
held on this subject during the course of 2000.
6, 7 and 9: Support museums as instruments of social and
cultural development; Create a programme for the development
of the capacity of museums to address cross-cultural issues;
Promote the ICOM Code of Professional Ethics.
educational role of museums in the social and cultural development
of a country is of the utmost importance. Thus, within the
AFRICOM Programme, the Museum Education Project of Africa
(MEPOA) was developed. A first activity under this project
was the ICOM/UNESCO Workshop on Outreach Museum Programmes
in West and Southern Africa: Current and Future Perspectives,
held in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, in June 1999. This workshop
addressed the issue of outreach museum programmes in Africa.
Approximately forty participants from African countries
convened for five days to exchange and share ideas with
the view to improving outreach museum education programmes
in Africa, and to make recommendations regarding possibilities
of carrying out these programmes on the continent. Two versions,
English and French, of the proceedings from this workshop
were prepared and sent to all the participants, the funding
institutions, the African ICOM National Committees, and
other interested persons. These proceedings will be an important
reference document for preparing guidelines aimed at improving
outreach museum programmes in Africa.
As a follow-up to the Bulawayo workshop, a second phase
of this project was organised in March and May 2001, in
order to carry the recommendations and proposals of the
Bulawayo workshop further. This activity was carried out
in Burkina Faso, in the community of Gaoua. It consisted
in working with the women of the community to enable them,
through their tradition of pottery making, to serve as a
link between the community and the museum, in this case
the Musée des Civilisations du Sud-ouest, in Gaoua. The
concrete results of this pilot activity -- a didactic brochure
used by the women to approach the community, developed by
means of a drawing contest; panels for a travelling exhibition
developed with the assistance of the members of the community
and the personnel of the museum; and a brochure containing
guidelines for mounting an exhibition -- composed a "kit"
to be used in other similar experiences in West Africa and
throughout the entire continent.
tourism is another factor of social and cultural development.
A Workshop on this issue was organised in Trujillo, Peru
and La Paz, Bolivia, in May 2000. Yani Herreman, Vice-President
of ICOM was the General Coordinator for the workshop, and
the Chairpersons of the Peruvian and Bolivian National Committees
ensured the local organisation.
The participants in the Workshop drew up a Declaration of
Principles that offers guidance and gives a conceptual basis
for ethical professional practice. It outlines the required
strategies and the aims and objectives that would ensure
that cultural heritage, including museum collections, is
enjoyed, interpreted and managed in a way that favours its
preservation and respect for future generations. The participants
based their work essentially on the ICOM Code of Professional
Ethics, thus linking this activity to triennial Objective
9, bearing in mind the mission of museums as non-profit
making institutions in the service of society and its development.
Cultural tourism is also a cross-cultural issue, and in
the wake of the success of the Peru/Bolivia workshop, ways
and means are being sought to develop this activity in other
regions of the world.
Proceedings from this Workshop were printed in two editions,
English and Spanish, and distributed to all participants
of the workshop and all ICOM members in Latin America, as
well as government and specialised agencies.
In ICOM's capacity as NGO in formal relation with and advisor
to UNESCO, the Programme Activities Sector, as well as other
members of the ICOM Secretariat, frequently participate
in meetings held by UNESCO on themes of common concern to
our two organisations: return and restitution of cultural
property, heritage in danger, World Heritage sites, risk
preparedness, cultural diversity, cultural tourism, etc.
These meetings afford good opportunities for ICOM to create
awareness of our aims and objectives and to advocate the
ICOM Code of Professional Ethics.
8: Defend the heritage in danger
defence of the heritage in danger, a number of actions have
been undertaken in the framework of the International Committee
of the Blue Shield (ICBS) which was founded by four non-governmental
organisations in 1996: International Council on Archives
(ICA), International Council of Museums (ICOM), International
Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), International Federation
of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).
four non-governmental organisations within ICBS are joining
together with the aim of providing authorities and professionals
with expertise and networks in the case of armed conflict
or natural disasters that could affect cultural heritage.
The four organisations are also working together to organise
risk preparedness at an international level and to encourage
it at local level. The members of ICBS are the chief executives
of each of the four organisations or their nominated substitutes.
To act in an advisory capacity for the protection of endangered
To facilitate international response to threats or emergencies
through co-operation between ICBS and national organisations.
propose its services in terms of expertise in cases arising
under the Hague Convention of 1954.
encourage safeguarding and respect for cultural property,
and particularly to promote standards of risk preparedness.
To train experts at a national or regional level to prevent,
control and recover from disasters.
consult and co-operate with other bodies with appropriate
expertise or interest including (but not excluding others):
UNESCO, ICCROM and the International Committee of the
Red Cross (ICRC).
is no sense in the action of ICBS unless it is taken up
and supported by local initiatives. These alone can significantly
improve conditions for protecting and safeguarding cultural
heritage. Several countries, for instance, have set up their
own Blue Shield National Committee, complying with the criteria
that governed the birth of the Blue Shield, and which have
been adapted to suit local conditions:
to bring together committees or institutions from the
four fields of archives, libraries, museums, monuments
to form ties between the Blue Shield National Committees
and civilian defence units, the army, the police, the
fire brigade, etc. The aim is that these bodies share
their respective experiences, and work together to integrate
protecting cultural heritage in emergency plans.
raise awareness amongst government bodies or local authorities
about protecting cultural heritage and integrating this
in emergency measures.
promote ratification and implementation of the Hague Convention.
Shield National Committees have been established or are
under way in: Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway,
Poland, United Kingdom and Yugoslavia.
the past triennium, several actions were undertaken under
the banner of the International Committee of the Blue Shield:
support from UNESCO and the International Institute for
Archival Science Maribor, Slovenia, ICBS held its first
practical "Seminar for Personnel Intervening following Armed
Conflict or other Disasters" at Radenci, Slovenia, from
11 to 17 November 1998. The aim of the meeting was to bring
together for the week at least one person from each of the
four "Blue Shield" professions from a range of European
countries, (although not every country had a full coverage
of archives, monuments, museums and libraries) to discuss
responsibility for emergency protection and response by
different services within the cities. The meeting concluded
that the experimental form of the seminar had worked very
well, and could form the basis of future training seminars
at both the international and national levels.
the final meeting of experts in Austria during the early
summer of 1998, a two-week formal diplomatic conference
for the Second Protocol to the 1954 Hague Convention on
the Protection of Cultural Property the Event of Armed Conflict
was held in The Hague in March 1999 at the invitation of
the Government of the Netherlands. The ICBS was represented
by Patrick Boylan at this meeting.
new Protocol is a great advance in international cultural
protection measures. It creates a new category of "Exceptional
Protection" for the most important sites, monuments and
institutions. It also sets out a range of new explicit crimes
in relation to breaches of cultural protection and provides
for universal criminal jurisdiction and extradition in relation
to the most serious of these. It establishes institutional
arrangements in respect of the application of the 1954 Convention,
and defines the important standing advisory role of the
ICBS and its constituent organisations. The formal recognition
of the ICBS in several places in the new Protocol is highly
special ICBS meeting was held in April 2000 in Strasbourg,
France, specifically to define the vision, mission and organisational
structure of ICBS.
vision of the ICBS is that: the Blue Shield will in time
become for cultural heritage protection what the Red Cross
is for humanitarian protection.
mission of the ICBS is:
to raise awareness of threats to cultural heritage from
man made and natural disasters and the need for protection;
to improve risk preparedness among all cultural heritage
institutions and professions through co-operation;
to provide expertise in the event of disaster affecting
cultural property throughout the world and co-ordinate
to advise the Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection
of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (as
set up by the 1999 diplomatic conference at the Hague).
regular meetings were held on September 1998, January 1999,
May 1999, September 1999, December 1999, February 2000,
April 2000, June 2000, November 2000, February 2001 and
The ICOM Secretariat produced a fourth publication in its
series of One Hundred Missing Objects during this
period: Looting in Europe. It focuses on religious
objects stolen and looted from four countries in Europe:
Czech Republic, Italy, Hungary and France, and contains
photos and descriptions of the objects in the languages
of the countries, plus English. Press campaigns in each
of four countries are being organised; the first was held
in Prague, Czech Republic, on 30 March 2001, and the second,
in Hungary, on 11 May 2001.
attended the European Preventive Conservation Strategy Meeting
which was held in Vantaa, Finland from 20 to 22 September
2000, with some eighty participants from twenty-four European
countries. The objective of the project was to produce a
strategy document on preventive conservation for Europe
which will enable concerted international planning and actions
for preventive conservation in Europe. At the national level,
it will assist ministries of culture, museums and conservation
services to justify, plan and implement services in support
of preventive conservation. The final document "Towards
a European Preventive Conservation Strategy" which has been
translated in all the languages of the European countries
attending the meeting, can be consulted on ICCROM's web
Activities concerning museums, training opportunities (such
as the creation of new training courses, schools, PhD opportunities,
etc), public involvement and access to information will
be developed by the partners of the project at national
and European levels in order to implement the preventive
conservation strategy. The ICOM secretariat, ICOM-CC, especially
the working group on preventive conservation, and national
ICOM committees could play an important role in supporting
also collaborated in the organisation of the International
Congress held in Draguignan, France in November 2000 on
disaster prevention in cultural heritage storage areas.
One of the most interesting aspects of this meeting was
that it was open to a wide variety of specialists in the
area of disaster prevention such as: fireman, conservator-restorers,
curators, archivists, librarians, architects, private companies,
computer and software companies, preventive conservation
specialists, insurance companies… The programme included
examples of emergency planning for heritage institutions,
presentation of prevention and/or recovery activities in
the case of earthquakes, hurricanes and strong winds, fire,
floods and acts of war. One part of the congress was dedicated
to the importance of setting up National Blue Shield Committees
and to the fundamental role that they could play in preventing
disasters and co-ordinating activities in case of disaster
within a country.
April 2001, in Hanoi, Vietnam, ICOM, in collaboration with
the Ministry of Culture and Information of Vietnam, organised
an important activity for the Asian region: a workshop on
the protection of cultural property in south-east Asia,
thus extending to Asia this focus on which ICOM had already
held workshops in Tanzania, for Southern Africa; in Mali,
for North and West Africa; in Zaire, for Central Africa;,
in The Netherlands, for the African cultural heritage at
continental level, in Ecuador for Latin America, and in
Tunisia, for the Arabic-speaking countries. These workshops
led to concrete actions at the national and regional levels,
such as the strengthening of national legislation with which
to constantly improve the status of museum personnel and
give greater force to the decrees in vigour for heritage
protection, establishing greater regional co-operation,
strengthening security in the museums and developing education
policies and public awareness on a wide scale and for different
sectors of the public.
the workshop convened heritage professionals and police
and customs officials from the entire Southeast Asian region
to present the situations of their countries, exchange information
and draw up a long-term forward plan for the region. The
overall aim of the workshop was to establish a new approach
to the problems by increasing regional co-operation and
developing new strategies to sensitise decision makers,
police and customs, local populations and the general public