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Working Group 2
Preserving the environment and local traditions in emergency preparedness and response


International Symposium on Cultural Heritage Disaster Preparedness and Response
Hyderabad, India
23 - 27 November, 2003

Considering that cultural heritage is a product of the environment and local traditions, it is necessary to consider the importance/potential of these in the preparation of a practical and acceptable plan for a response to emergency situations.


Recognizing the importance of cultural heritage: local, regional, national, and international institutions, organisations, international charters and conventions should play an active role in preparing and implementing the necessary framework/guidelines required for the effective implementation of preventive measures to mitigate the risk from man-made and natural disasters and of measures for a swift and adequate response to probable disasters.


Improvement of Risk Preparedness

  1. Strengthening institutional frameworks
  2. Funding
  3. Emergency management
    - preventive
    - response
    - long-term: to ensure long-term sustenance, it is necessary to incorporate diverse traditional beliefs, practices and knowledge
  4. Research and documentation of tangible and intangible heritage to record existing traditions and practices and to recover lost traditions and practices that may have potential for improving policies and practices on risk preparedness.
  5. In order to prepare and implement an effective emergency plan, it is important to seek community participation at all levels.

Using instruments and tools to enhance the effectiveness of emergency management plans:

  • Training museum staff and local volunteers in the community.

  • Mass education and awareness-raising programs using appropriate communication vectors.

  • Building sustainable networks and partnerships at different levels.

  • Using local and appropriate knowledge and technology.

  • Inventory and documentation of the physical conditions of museum buildings and their environment.

  • International partnerships with museums and local institutional networks need to be developed to preserve cultural heritage and pool experience.

  • Cooperation with ICOM, ICOMOS and international institutes such as ICCROM, IFLA, ICA is needed to create synergy in efforts; access to these institutions and their databases via electronic means must be provided.

  • Cooperation by ICOM, ICOMOS and ICCROM with relevant outside partners such as the Getty Conservation Institute, opening scope for training key people and large-scale implementation of successful emergency management programs.

  • Trained museum personnel and emergency services should be available whenever cultural heritage is threatened in a community.

  • Cooperation with institutions where conservators and conservation architects are trained so as to broaden the scope to cover museum personnel in emergency situations.

  • Clear demarcation of the different responsibilities and activities of the different stakeholders in emergency management plans.

  • ICOM National Committees in each country should lead and coordinate efforts and advocate emergency planning. ICOM should take the leading role in global coordination of the participation of each country in the pursuit of efficient emergency planning.


Updated: 11 July 2005