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December 18, 2023

ICOM AwardICOM Award for Sustainable Development Practice in Museums 

The International Council of Museums (ICOM) is pleased to announce the launch of the ICOM Award for Sustainable Development Practice in Museums.  

The ICOM Award is the first global award that recognises innovative initiatives and exemplary museum practices in sustainable development. It is also the first award that ICOM addresses to all its members. 

In line with ICOM’s 2019 Kyoto Resolution On sustainability and the implementation of Agenda 2030, Transforming our World and the ICOM Strategic plan, the ICOM Award contributes to the strengthening of ICOM’s engagement towards sustainable development. The award presents itself as a learning opportunity for museum professionals and the ICOM Network. 

ICOM, as a global organisation, aims to demonstrate the various ways in which the museum sector contributes to sustainable development; and inspire museums and museum professionals everywhere in the world to begin or strengthen their efforts for sustainable development in practice. 

Furthermore, ICOM aims to serve as a catalyst for collective action, encouraging all ICOM Bodies (National and International Committees, Regional Alliances, and Affiliated Organisations) to play an active role in promoting sustainable development practices within the museum community. In this way, ICOM is launching a groundbreaking initiative that brings together all its bodies in a united front for sustainable development. 

Through this initiative, ICOM reinforces its commitment to Agenda 2030 and beyond by being at the forefront of change within the museum sector and inspires an accelerated development of sustainable practices leading to long-term changes for the museum sector and our common future. 

The ICOM Award receives entries, which are judged by an international jury on the basis of the five dimensions of Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, namely the 5 P’s: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership. The ICOM Award ceremony will take place at the ICOM 27th General Conference in 2025 in Dubai.  

The application 

Who can apply? 

Museums that are ICOM Members in good standing for the years 2023 and 2024 can apply for the Award. 

If you are not a member: 

If a museum is not yet an ICOM Member and belongs to Categories 1 and 2 (see the ICOM Membership grid), the museum can first apply for institutional membership in its own country to its National Committee. Once the membership application has been approved by its National Committee, it can be attached to the application for the Award together with the receipt of the first membership fee payment. You will find more information on the ICOM institutional membership here: 

Information on ICOM membership
Directory of ICOM National Committees 

If a museum is not an ICOM Institutional Member and if the museum belongs to Categories 3, 4 and 5 (see the ICOM Membership grid), an ICOM Individual Member can apply for the Award. In that case, it must be done on behalf of the museum where they work, attaching a Letter of Support from the institution. 

Who cannot apply: 

ICOM Individual Members in Categories 1 and 2.
ICOM Individual Members in Categories 3, 4 and 5 without the support of the museum where they work. 

Application process 

The Call for applications will be open from March to September 2024. 

The project applicants (referred to as “Candidates”) shall send their applications to the ICOM Secretariat* together with an endorsement (see endorsement process below) from the ICOM Bodies (National Committees, International Committees, Regional Alliances or Affiliated Organisations). 

*The online application form will be available on ICOM’s website when the call is launched. 

Selection and evaluation process 

  1. The applications are sent to the ICOM Secretariat with an endorsement from the ICOM Bodies (National and International Committees, Regional Alliances, and Affiliated Organisations). 
  2. The ICOM Secretariat carries out verification to ensure that Candidates are eligible and provides the list of eligible projects to the Jury for examination.  
  3.  The Jury makes a first selection, a Longlist, from the list of eligible projects. 
  4. After further examination, the Jury provides a Shortlist of projects. 
  5. The Jury makes a selection of three (3) final Candidates, the Award finalists. 
  6. The Winner is announced at the Dubai General Conference in 2025, during the Award Ceremony. 

Endorsement process 

Each of the ICOM Bodies (National and International Committees, Regional Alliances, Affiliated Organisations) who have taken part in an online Capacity Building session (see below) organised by the ICOM Secretariat can endorse applications. A template for the award endorsement letter will be provided by the ICOM Secretariat to the ICOM Bodies. Potential Candidates can contact the eligible ICOM Bodies listed on the ICOM member space for an endorsement. To manage the endorsement process, each of the ICOM Bodies shall appoint a Board member who shall be the reference person for the award endorsement process. 

Capacity Building 

The ICOM Award for Sustainable Development Practice in Museums aims to create learning opportunities that are available to the ICOM network. A programme of capacity-building sessions will be organised for the ICOM Bodies (National and International Committees, Regional Alliances, Affiliated Organisations) as well as interested Candidates to have a common understanding of the ICOM Award, Agenda 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and Sustainable Development. The idea is to encourage well-developed proposals in shared understanding and to empower ICOM Members as actors in sustainable development. 

First dates for capacity-building sessions: 

For National and International Committees, Regional Alliances and Affiliated Organisations (ICOM Bodies):
13th of February: 11:30 – 13:00 CET or 14th February 2024: 16:00 – 17:30 CET 

Register here

For interested Candidates:
20th of February: 11:30 – 13:00 CET or 21st February 2024: 16:00 – 17:30 CET 

Register here

The capacity-building sessions are developed in partnership with ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) and Curating Tomorrow. 

The Jury 

A Jury consisting of seven (7) members will carry out the selection, chaired by the Chair of ICOM SUSTAIN, the International Committee on Museums and Sustainable Development. 

ICOM will make an open call for applications for the Jury in March 2024 for:  

  • Four (4) museum experts who are ICOM members in good standing 
  • Two (2) Sustainable Development experts (non-mandatory ICOM membership) 

The Award 

The Winner of the Award shall receive a (1) unique statuette specifically designed for the first edition of the Award. The Winner of the Award will also have the opportunity to be promoted through the various ICOM media (such as, but not limited to, ICOM social media, ICOM podcast, and/or ICOM Website).  

The three (3) Finalists will be invited by ICOM to attend the 27th ICOM General Conference to be held in Dubai in 2025. They shall receive an Award certificate for their Projects.  

An Award publication featuring the Winner, the Finalists and Outstanding Projects, that are part of the Shortlist selected by the Jury, shall be published a few months after the ICOM General Conference. 


More information on the application process and the award will be available at the beginning of 2024 for the launch of the call for project submissions. In the meantime, you can email us at 

More information 

UN 2030 Agenda is the global development agenda, agreed on by all member states of the United Nations. Development issues and priorities vary widely across the globe – the 2030 Agenda is a framework that aims to cover the range of development priorities. 

The Goals and targets stimulate action in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet (the “5 P’s”): 

  1. People: to end poverty and hunger, in all their forms and dimensions, and to ensure that all human beings can fulfil their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment. 
  2. Planet: to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations. 
  3. Prosperity: to ensure that all human beings can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives and that economic, social, and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature. 
  4. Peace: to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence. There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.
  5. Partnership: to mobilise the means required to implement the 2030 Agenda through a revitalised Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, based on a spirit of strengthened global solidarity, focused in particular on the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable and with the participation of all countries, all stakeholders and all people. 

Learn more about ICOM’s Sustainable Development initiatives 

Additional reading materials