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Resolutions adopted by ICOM's General Assembly 1995

18th General Assembly of ICOM

Stavanger, Norway, 7 July 1995

 Resolution no. 1: Museums and Communities  

Considering that museums are fundamental tools for the individual and collective development of critical minds, of self-awareness, of the sense of citizenship and of community's identity;

Noting that some local museums all over the world which are undertaking innovative activities focusing on everyday topics of community life, trying to challenge traditional models and reaching beyond the limits of exhibition spaces, are facing threats of closure and lack of support from their governing bodies;

Convinced of the necessity of long-term strategic planning of programs and actions that may contribute to the development of museums and museology in the different regions, based on local cultural, social, technological and economic contexts,
The 18th General Assembly of ICOM, held in Stavanger, Norway, on 7 July 1995,
Urges local and national governments to recognize and support museums as cultural mechanisms in the service of communities, in the valorization of their particular identities, and as unique tools for the collective management of their cultural heritage,

Recommends that in the adaptation of industrial buildings and sites as museum spaces, particular care be taken to preserve the visible and informative record of people, events and activities associated with this heritage and for the recognition of communities' struggles, achievements and developmental processes represented in these three-dimensional documents.

Encourages the development of a strategic planning process for the implementation of programmes and projects of ICOM's National Committees and Regional Organizations, that will consider the resources, opportunities, weaknesses and needs of their area of activity in the human, technical, economic and communication aspects, leading to coordinated action for the benefit of museums, of museology and the communities which they serve.

Resolution no. 2: Protection of the Cultural Heritage during Armed Conflict

Noting Resolution No. 9 of the 9th General Assembly held in Munich, Germany, in 1968, in which ICOM expressed its concern about the danger to the cultural heritage of various countries arising from armed conflict;

Recalling Resolution No. 2 of the 17th General Assembly at Quebec, Canada, which recognised inter alia, that the destruction of the cultural and natural heritage due to hostile action required urgent attention and which proposed that ICOM find ways to provide moral and material support to National Committees and museum professionals affected by such disasters, by developing an emergency action plan in close cooperation with relevant organisations;

Recalling that ICOMOS has proposed the establishment of the Blue Shield organisation to help provide such emergency assistance, and that ICOM is supportive of this concept and has, within its membership, the capacity to provide specialist advice and assistance in relation to the safeguarding of museums and collections;

Noting that the deliberate and systematic destruction of parts of the cultural heritage continues to take place as a result of wars and armed conflicts in a number of countries;

Considering that irrespective of the military goals of the various parties, they have a moral responsibility to do their utmost to avoid damage to museums, the collections they hold, and to historical monuments, parks and other sites which are the heritage of future generations;

The 18th General Assembly of ICOM, meeting in Stavanger, Norway, on 7 July 1995,

Strongly condemns any deliberate destruction of the cultural heritage during armed conflict;

Expresses its concern for the National Museum and its collections in Sarajevo and its solidarity with museum colleagues working there under hazardous conditions to protect the remaining collections (including invaluable and irreplaceable scientific material) for the benefit of future generations;

Calls on governments and international bodies, as well as concerned individuals, to provide moral, practical and financial support for all museums which are at risk of destruction or damage during armed conflicts;

Suggests that concrete action be taken by the museum community to assist museums in distress such as the National Museum in Sarajevo, for example by donating funds raised on International Museum Day.

Requests the Secretary-General to arrange a mission to investigate the situation of museums and museum professionals in Liberia, Burundi and Rwanda, and

Urges ICOM to take whatever actions seem appropriate and feasible in the light of the findings of the mission referred to above.

Resolution no. 3:  Conventions Regulating the Physical and Legal Security of Cultural Heritage

Recalling Resolution no. 5 on the return of cultural objects to their countries of origin and resolution no. 8 on cultural heritage in occupied countries adopted by the 14th General Assembly of ICOM held in London, United Kingdom, in 1983,

Deeply concerned at the continuing damage to the world's heritage and to the national, regional and local heritage by the illicit traffic of cultural objects,

Convinced of the fundamental importance of the protection of the cultural heritage and of cultural exchanges for promoting understanding between peoples,


1. that the inadequacy of existing international and national laws in relation to legal rules and rights of jurisdiction in relation to claims for the return and restitution of stolen or illegally exported cultural property has long been recognized as a serious hindrance to the protection of the world's cultural heritage and to the proper conduct of the legitimate trade in art, antiquities and other cultural property;

2. that for many years various international bodies including UNESCO, ICOM, ICOMOS, ICCROM, and the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (Unidroit) have been seeking new and more effective legal means to clarify international and national law in relation to claims for the return of stolen or illegally exported objects of cultural importance;

3. that a Diplomatic Conference for the adoption of the draft Unidroit Convention on the subject was held in Rome from 7 to 24 June 1995,

4. that the recent armed conflicts have shown the limits of acceptance and application of the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict,

The 18th General Assembly of ICOM, meeting in Stavanger, Norway, on 7 July 1995,

Welcomes the decision of the representatives of 70 States present at the Rome Unidroit Diplomatic Conference on 24 June 1995 to adopt the Unidroit Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects,

Encourages the promotion of educational programmes in museums in order to create public awareness of the problems of illicit traffic,

Suggests that the Regional Organisations within ICOM motivate all ICOM National Committees in their regions to promote November 22nd as the International Day against Illicit Traffic of Cultural Property;

Urges all governments to sign and ratify the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property and the new Unidroit Convention without delay, and to establish the necessary legal and administrative structures at the national level required to implement its important provisions at the practical level;

Offers the full support of ICOM in relation to identifying and providing appropriate expert knowledge in relation to the application of the Unidroit Convention;

Requests ICOM to investigate means of protecting the rights of museums to control the reproduction and replication of objects from their collection.

Resolution no. 4: Museum Training and Global Awareness

Considering the urgent need for greater attention to the conservation of the planetary environment and that certain ideas and beliefs are basic to human existence and the inter-relationship between people, between people and the environment, and between people and their universal nature,
The 18th General Assembly of ICOM, held in Stavanger, Norway, on 7 July 1995,
Encourages all training providers to recognize that museum training should not only address cultural and natural heritage, including environmental awareness, but accept as an ethical responsibility the need to take actions aimed at conserving and maintaining human society in balance with global resources,

Reminds all training providers that museological training is not limited to organized instructional opportunities, but must recognize the importance of the global nature of the museological community by striving for an open dialogue and a free exchange of ideas, theories, and practices through all available media,

Urges ICOM to recommend that all governments establish an agency at the highest level in which the concepts and practices of protecting and conserving human and environmental heritage are coordinated for the purposes of public education, information, and enlightenment,

Urges UNESCO to take steps to maintain and reinforce the regional training centres of Jos and Niamey in accordance with the Recommendations of the Lomé workshop of the encounter "What Museums for Africa? Heritage in the Future", held in November 1991.

 Resolution no. 5: Developments in Information Technologies

Recalling Resolution No. 4 on documentation and information adopted by ICOM's 16th General Assembly in The Hague, Netherlands, in 1989;

Considering the importance of strengthening international policy and cooperation within ICOM and of reinforcing solidarity among the museums and museum professionals of the world;

Noting the recent advances in, and falling costs of, the provision of new electronic communications and information technologies, including the Internet and planned `Information Superhighways' [Autoroutes de l'information];

Recalling with approval, the Declarations in the 1994 Tokyo Resolution on Strategic Alliance of International Non-Governmental Organizations in Information to serve better the World Community that all persons must have open and unrestricted access to information, while at the same time protecting individual rights and providing appropriate economic incentives to the suppliers of information, and that a particularly serious problem is the increasing information gap between various countries and societies within them, which in some cases is exacerbated by the economic conditions;
Having regard to the very great potential of new information technologies in relation to almost every aspect of the work of museums;

Noting recent important developments within ICOM on the initiatives of the Executive Council, ICOM-CIDOC and the Secretary General, with the generous cooperation of some institutional members of ICOM and of UNESCO, particularly the establishment of ICOM Internet services such as e-mail, and the World Wide Web on-line information

The 18th General Assembly of ICOM, held in Stavanger, Norway, on 7 July 1995,

Welcomes the various recent initiatives taken by ICOM in relation to new developments in information technologies, including the signing of the Tokyo Resolution and joining the Strategic Alliance of International Non-Governmental Organizations in Information, and the establishment of an effective ICOM presence on the Internet;

Pledges ICOM's continuing and developing cooperation with the other international NGOs within the Tokyo Alliance in all areas of special relevance to the interests of museums and of ICOM, particularly to the Alliance's joint technical and professional initiatives and to joint representations to inter-governmental organisations such as the United Nations, UNESCO, the G7 and other international and national authorities seeking support for the important principles of the Tokyo Resolution, including democratic access and the protection of the legitimate intellectual property rights of museums;

Recommends that all international and national committees and member museums explore as a matter of priority the possibility of making use of the Internet as opportunities and resources become available;

Recommends that further initiatives be taken by the Executive Council and the Secretary General, in cooperation with other appropriate bodies both within ICOM (especially CIDOC) and outside it (eg. UNESCO, individual museum bodies, and partner NGOs within the Tokyo Resolution Strategic Alliance) as technologies develop.

 Resolution no. 6: Testing of Nuclear Weapons

Recalling Resolution No. 5 of the 10th General Assembly held at Grenoble, France in 1971, concerning museums and the environment which recognised that the pollution of the air, earth and water and the defacing of the visual and physical environment is proceeding at an accelerated rate and that all museums in the world are concerned with the preservation of the natural and cultural environment;

Noting that some nations have recently resumed, or declared their intention to resume, the testing of nuclear weapons, in particular at Muroroa Atoll and elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific Region;

Recognising the social, cultural and environmental destruction resulting from such testing as well as its implications for the biological systems, cultures and communities with which museums are engaged;

Having Regard to the widespread opposition by peoples all over the world to any resumption of the testing of nuclear weapons;
 The 18th General Assembly of ICOM, held in Stavanger, Norway, on 7 July 1995,
 Condemns any resumption of the testing of nuclear weapons,

Requests the President of ICOM to convey to the governments concerned ICOM's opposition to any such resumption, and

Urges all governments to work towards a comprehensive and universal treaty banning the testing of nuclear weapons.






Updated: 20 June 2005