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National Institute of Anthropology and History and ICOMOS Renew Compromise

MEXICO CITY.- The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and the Mexican Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), advisory organism for United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) renewed their compromise to promote agreements to benefit Mexican cultural goods, especially architectural ones.

ICOMOS Mexican Committee change of leadership ceremony, which took place at National Museum of Anthropology (MNA) was attended by INAH general director, Alfonso de Maria y Campos, who declared “Mexican ICOMOS has been one of the most important advisory instances on which INAH counts to conserve heritage”.

At the first official ceremony of architect Olga Orive Bellinger as ICOMOS Mexico president, the INAH officer manifested that both organisms can reach agreements that will benefit Mexican heritage. “We must find mechanisms to broaden our reflection, and to take action regarding great environments conservation. Questions that guide this praxis are ruled by problems that many times escape from a sole institution”.

Interviewed after the leadership change act, Gustavo Araoz, president of ICOMOS International, and new director Olga Orive, mentioned to national press that there are no cases in Mexico in risk of losing their inscription to UNESCO Cultural Heritage List.

In reference to Teotihuacan Archaeological Zone, the issue has not been brought up as priority at ICOMOS International, declared Gustavo Araoz, indicating that “fortunately in Mexico there are not examples of cases that do not understand limits and new tolerance for changes at World Heritage sites, as it is happening in Saint Petersburg, Seville, Vienna, Turkey or Dresden (already excluded from the List)”.

Regarding the lack of management programs at sites inscribed in the List decades ago, he declared it is not a crucial matter that endangers their declaratory.

World Heritage Committee considers this an important issue but not serious enough to change these sites to the Endangered Heritage List, he declared, after explaining that requirement of management plans was implemented a few years ago, not as a model but as a protection system.

“It must not be a management plan, but a system, because there are many sites operated by indigenous or aborigine communities, as in Australia, and a Eurocentric concept such as management plan is not imposed; what matters is that a protection system exists to maintain the universal value of the site”.

Orive Bellinger, president of ICOMOS Mexico, declared that a close bond with INAH has been established to analyze this and other subjects related to Mexican cultural goods.

“A work table has been instituted to revise situations such as Teotihuacan, and the rest of cultural heritage sites, and it begins activities in September 2009”, announced the specialist, who will lead ICOMOS Mexico until 2012.

Alfonso de Maria y Campos declared that promotion is necessary “so this legacy is assumed by all Mexicans, the need to transmit that historical heritage belongs to society and that State institutions and non-governmental organizations such as ICOMOS intervene to conserve it”.

“Contemporary heritage negotiations are not only related to research, conservation, restoration and promotion, but to areas that are traditionally out of the cultural sphere, such as economic and territorial planning, as well as sustainable tourism”.

Architect Javier Villalobos, outgoing president of ICOMOS Mexico, made a balance of the 3 years he leaded the organization. Figures speak for themselves: nearly 300 members are distributed along 27 Mexican states, there are 12 state committees, and groups of at least 20 specialties through the mentioned scientific committees.

“Work has been hard, between advisory, reports’ emission, participation and organization of events, compromise through agreements, as well as negotiations to inscribe in the World Heritage List sites such as Ciudad Universitaria and San Miguel de Allende”, he concluded.

National Institute of Anthropology and History | ICOMOS | Saint Petersburg | Seville | Vienna | Turkey |

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