International organizations to collaborate on using space technologies for world cultural heritage conservation
By Zhuang Xueya
People's Daily app

The International Center on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage (HIST) under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) online with the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) to shape a long-term strategic partnership for the protection and preservation of World Cultural Heritage sites internationally.

UNESCO has inscribed 897 cultural heritage sites and 39 mixed (both cultural and natural) sites on its World Heritage List. Some of them may face multiple challenges caused by natural disasters, anthropogenic activities, climate change and other hazards. It is widely recognized that space information technologies can play an important role in the identification, monitoring, evaluation, presentation, restoration, conservation and management of world cultural heritage sites.

Within this context, the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee requested state parties, the World Heritage Center, the advisory bodies, UNESCO Category 2 Centers and other relevant institutions to continue exploring collaborative partnerships, which apply innovative technological advances in remote sensing to the improved monitoring and protection of world heritage properties.

Under the MoU, both HIST and ICOMOS will focus on priority areas of collaboration: world heritage monitoring and evaluation, research and consultation, capacity building, information exchange and event organization over the next five years.

Prof. Huadong Guo and Dr. Teresa Patricio sign a memorandum of understanding. (Photo credit: HIST)

"As this year marks the 50th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention and the beginning of HIST's second decade of development, both leading international organizations take the lead in undertaking joint actions to support the implementation of the Convention and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by employing cutting-edge technologies, such as space technologies, to offer global public goods and services," said Prof. Huadong Guo, director of HIST.

"ICOMOS believes that collaborating with HIST will help us to develop more comprehensive impact assessment of natural and human induced hazards on cultural heritage properties and their surroundings," said Teresa Patricio, president of ICOMOS.

HIST is an international organization established in 2011 by UNESCO. It is devoted to developing and utilizing space technologies for the identification, conservation, monitoring and management of UNESCO-designated sites to support UNESCO and its members in the implementation of the World Heritage Convention and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

ICOMOS is a non-governmental, not for profit international organization committed to furthering the conservation, protection, use and enhancement of the world’s cultural heritage.