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Programme for ICOM Activities 1999, 2000, 2001

19th General Assembly of ICOM

Melbourne, Australia, 16th October 1998

Objective 1: To identify and respond effectively to the future needs and issues faced by museums and the museum profession

- Assess the current situation of museums and identify likely future changes in order to adapt the museum and the profession to the changing situation of the world.

Means: - Participate, through the various constituent bodies of ICOM, in the discussions of the new roles of museums.

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 society

- Identify and propose different models of governance and financing of museums which will enable them to continue to fulfil their mission; Promote intellectual exchanges within the museum community and the ICOM groups concerning museum governance, organisation and financing and the development of new models; Understand the implications of changes in governance and financing on museums and professional practice, and disseminate this information to members.

Means: - Encourage the exchange of information on new legal, administrative and financial structures and practices and their advantages and disadvantages compared with more traditional structures.

Objective 3: Review professional practices relating to museums

- Keep under review and disseminate information on changing methods and practices in museum work; Study ethical and legal issues relating to all relevant kinds of intellectual property rights, and current and recommended future museum practices in this regard.

Objective 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

- Determine the most effective structure to accomplish this mission; Increase its ability to function as a global council of museums.

Means: - Undertake consultations within ICOM and with other museum organisations and professionals and museum authorities, and other cultural organisations; Evaluate the effectiveness of current structures; Study means to increase the involvement of museum professionals in ICOM; Put forward findings and recommendations to the next General Assembly.

Objective 5: Reaffirm the role of ICOM as the International Council of Museums

- Strengthen relations and co-operation with national and other museum authorities; Strengthen relations and co-operation with national and regional museums associations and with related international, national and regional organisations.

Objective 6: To support museums as instruments of social and cultural development

- Promote the value of museums with decision-makers at all international levels; Promote and encourage participation in the development and discussion of international cultural policies; Support initiatives in this area; Strengthen links with UNESCO and other relevant international and regional intergovernmental organisations; Encourage the collection and dissemination of quantitative cultural statistics and the development of statistical quantitative indicators relevant to museums and related organisations and services; Encourage and support the establishment of cultural policies that strengthen museums and other institutions' abilities to work with their communities in respectful and harmonious relationships; Encourage National Committees and both institutional and individual members to actively participate in the formulation and development of national cultural policies; Educate and train museum personnel to meet these new challenges; Call upon governments, international development organisations, foundations, corporations, non-governmental organisations and society in general to support the work of museums.

Means: - Organisation of conferences and workshops; Publications; Dissemination and exchange of information.

Objective 7: To create a programme for the development of the capacity of museums to address cross-cultural issues

- Following the adoption of the report of the Working Group on Cross Cultural Issues, activities and programmes will be encouraged and developed to address cross-cultural issues through constructive approaches.

Objective 8: To defend heritage in danger

- Increase solidarity between museums and professionals; Improve response to urgent needs expressed by professionals facing situations of armed conflict or natural disaster; Support and encourage national participation in, and respect of, relevant international cultural protection Conventions and other international instruments; Improve general information about the extreme vulnerability of the world's natural heritage; Fight against the illicit traffic in cultural property; Collaborate with police, customs officers and other relevant authorities; Continue ICOM's participation in the International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS); Collaborate with UNESCO and the States Parties to the Hague Convention of 1954 in the revision of the Convention, and in its subsequent promotion; Create a structure for interaction between museum professionals and the scientific community for the purpose of generating and disseminating information relating to ecological and cultural degradation.

Objective 9: To promote the ICOM Code of Professional Ethics

- Make the ICOM Code of Professional Ethics better known to and respected by professionals, and make the public aware of major ethical issues in museums; Draw up an official version of the ICOM Code of Professional Ethics in the various languages into which it has been translated; Keep the museum profession informed of new ethical issues.

Objective 10: To develop and encourage electronic communications within ICOM

- Ensure a developing ICOM presence on the Internet; Enable members of ICOM and the Secretariat to communicate effectively and efficiently through electronic means.

Means: - Continue to manage and develop the ICOM web site on the Internet, and increase the availability of ICOM and related studies, policies and other documents through the ICOM site; Promote access to e-mail through the regional programmes of ICOM; Maintain and enhance the Virtual Library Museum Pages directory of museum web sites.

Objective 11: Regional programmes

All the regional programmes will take into account the previous experiences of the existing regional organisations and be adapted to the specific situation of each country. Special attention will be given to strengthen museums' abilities to work with their communities in a respectful and harmonious relationship. A further priority in all regional programmes will be the development of effective working relationships with all relevant inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations of the region.


1. Programme for Latin-American and Caribbean countries

- Create and reinforce networks of regional co-operation; Optimise material and human resources, and other kinds of resources that can benefit the development of museums and museology in Latin-American and Caribbean countries; Strengthen inter-regional projects.

Means: - Adopt and implement the action plan approved at the Encounter of Museums of the Americas on "Museums and Sustainable Communities", held in San José, Costa Rica, in April 1998, on education, risk prevention, natural and cultural heritage, technology and cultural tourism; Draw up a programme for the documentation and exchange of information in order to create and support networks of information exchange, and to promote activities in documentation of the cultural and natural heritage in the region; Draw up a programme for the training and updating of human resources; Draw up a museum management programme; Facilitate regional communication; Hold annual meetings of the Regional Organisation; Develop heritage awareness programmes; Develop programmes for fighting illicit traffic; Facilitate research and debates on new museological concepts adapted to the economic and social situation of Latin America and the Caribbean; Strengthen cultural relations between Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

2. Programme for the Asia-Pacific countries

- Strengthen the Asia-Pacific Organisation through the development of sub-regional networks for the enhancement of the museum profession among the member countries.

Means: - Develop a sub-regional Capacity Building Programme; Develop a Professional Enrichment Programme; Organise the annual meetings of ICOM International Committees in the region; Convene a Regional Assembly; Computerise and standardise collection inventories; Exchange information and exhibits; Develop a heritage awareness programme.

3. Programme for ICOM-Arab

- Strengthen the network of museum professionals in the Arab countries; Provide useful working tools and training for all members; Protect the movable cultural heritage; Strengthen inter-regional projects.

Means: - Update the Directory of Museums in the Arab Countries; Compile and assess inventories of public collections; Carry out a study to review museum legislation in the Arab countries; Encourage training initiatives for museum professionals; Develop heritage awareness programmes.

4. Programme for Africa/AFRICOM

- Ensure the continuous dynamism of museums in Africa through the activities initiated in the framework of the AFRICOM Programme; Organise a meeting in 1999 for the AFRICOM Constitutional Assembly on the theme "Building Together with the Community", along the lines of the first Lomé Encounter (Togo); Strengthen inter-regional projects.

Means: - Continue with the Museum Education Programme of Africa (MEPOA); Standardise collection inventories in Africa; Set up training initiatives for museum professionals; Develop programmes for heritage awareness and the fight against illicit traffic; Establish an AFRICOM Organisation; Strengthen communication through e-mail.

5. Programme for Europe

- Ensure greater communication between ICOM members in Europe; Assist in ensuring ICOM's relations with all relevant European regional organisations; Strengthen regional communication between museums and museum professionals; Defend cultural heritage.

Means: - Participate in action against illicit traffic; Promote and participate in the activities of the International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS); Assist in establishing new National Committees in the region; Develop heritage awareness programmes; Study ethical and legal issues relating to all relevant kinds of intellectual property rights especially with regard to new technology; Prepare a list of relevant organisations active in the European heritage field.

6. Programme for North America

- Increase ICOM National Committee membership in the US, Canada and Mexico; Work with national museum organisations to advance critical issues in collaboration with the National Committees in the US, Canada and Mexico and with other international cultural organisations; Support the Action Agenda developed by the first meeting of the museums of the Western Hemisphere - the Summit of the Museums of the Americas, held in San José, Costa Rica in April 1998; Increase communication between museums in the north and museums in the south; Participate in and support ICOM-LAC in the planning for a second Summit of the Museums of the Americas to be held in 2001.


Updated: 11 July 2005