08.23.2009 – In the spirit of the international cooperation that is essential to our work, and in cognizance of the magnitude of work that lies before us, the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management (ICAHM) now has two Presidents. We have been elected for a three-year term, during which our primary goal will be to reshape ICAHM along the lines set out by the Eger Xi’an Principles. The Eiger-Xi’an Principles enlarge the role that scientific committees play in ICOMOS.
ICAHM will be especially busy. Of the over 850 sites now on the World Heritage List, two-thirds were inscribed because of universally significant cultural values. Virtually all of these contain archaeological sites, landscapes, or other archaeological materials.
ICAHM has been in existence since 1990. It was established to advise the World Heritage Committee on matters pertaining to the management of archaeological heritage. This involves providing input to World Heritage Committee deliberations on whether or not to inscribe archaeological sites on the World Heritage List, monitoring conditions of inscribed archaeological sites, and identifying listed sites that are in danger of losing World Heritage status because the condition of archaeological resources that qualified them for listing is deteriorating to unacceptable levels. As importantly, our mandate includes enhancing the management of all archaeological resources, anywhere in the world, whether or not they are located at inscribed sites, or even those potentially eligible for inscription. This is because the World Heritage Convention, which has more signatory countries than any other international convention, obliges state parties to work toward the preservation of the world’s cultural and natural heritage, not just that portion of humankind’s common heritage that lies within World Heritage Sites.
We also hope to work more closely together with the World Archaeological Congress (WAC), the International Union of Pre- and Protohistoric Sciences (IUPPS) and various continental organizations such as SAA in America, EAA in Europe, IPPA in the Pacific, SAfA in Africa, and others. We intend to hold ICAHM meetings in connection with the meetings of all these organizations. ICAHM can and should be concerned with the quality of work in heritage management, especially in large projects in developing countries. This is why we do not only want the committee to continue work in developing standards and best practices, but also to discuss with various professional registers and associations around the world ways in which professionalism can be advanced.
Co-President Douglas C. Comer, Ph.D. (USA)
Co-President Prof. Willem J.H. Willems (the Netherlands) (1950-2014)