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ICOM makes museums' voices heard at UNESCO

On 13 November, Anne-Catherine Robert-Hauglustaine, Director General of ICOM, presented the "Recommendation on the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections, their Diversity and their Role in Society" at the 38th General Conference of UNESCO.

ICOM makes museums' voices heard at UNESCO

© UNESCO

This recommendation, prepared by ICOM with the help of Professor François Mairesse, Chairperson of ICOM's International Committee for Museology (ICOFOM), and UNESCO, was born from the shared desire to introduce standards and principles affirming the place of museums in society and their associated roles and responsibilities.

It has been formally adopted by UNESCO on 17 November 2015. 

The project was launched in 2012 at the International Expert Meeting organised by UNESCO in Rio de Janeiro, in collaboration with ICOM and IBRAM (the Brazilian Institute of Museums). The document is based on the principle that museums share a number of missions, including education and the dissemination of culture, play a professional role, and work in favour of justice, liberty and peace, helping to build moral and intellectual solidarity among people and guarantee equal access to education for all. In keeping with the professional standards published by ICOM, the recommendation will clarify the role of museums by highlighting the importance of protecting and promoting them so they can fully participate in sustainable development and intercultural dialogue, particularly through the protection and promotion of cultural diversity and heritage. The proposed resolution was finalised at an Intergovernmental Meeting of Experts at UNESCO on 27-28 May 2015.

"ICOM, the International Council of Museums, proposes the adoption without amendment of this recommendation and thanks the Secretariat for its unwavering support in the drafting of this document, which is essential to the development of museums and collections, to the recognition of museum professionals, to the respect for the social role museums play at the regional and community levels, and to the safeguarding of the integrity of collections in all countries," concluded the Director General in her speech at UNESCO headquarters.

No international standard-setting instrument has been entirely dedicated to museums since 1960, making this document one that has been eagerly anticipated by the international museum community.