Dear members of the ICCROM Community,
Like all of you, we have been monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic, implementing a range of measures to ensure the safety of our staff while continuing to carry out our mission to promote the conservation of cultural heritage around the world. This is first and foremost a health crisis, and our thoughts go to those who are unwell, anxious or grieving.
With lockdowns in place in the host countries of both of our offices – Italy and the United Arab Emirates – staff is working from home, planning for the postponement of some of those activities slated to take place in coming weeks, while at the same time seeking out new ways to provide content and support for conservation professionals and institutions within our Member States.
We are firm believers in the power of cultural heritage, and its ability to help make the world a better place. By providing an enabling environment for Member States to preserve their cultural heritage, we aim to contribute to the environmental, social and economic sustainability of communities. Now more than ever, we are thinking about what our work means to the people we train, the communities they serve, and our vast network of partners from around the world.
COVID-19 has placed an enormous burden on institutions and colleagues who must care for and manage cultural heritage of all types. Our team has been working to prepare a dedicated web area that will offer resources and advice in dealing with Heritage in Times of COVID, which includes assessment forms, but also stories coming from our network about culture’s role in these difficult times. We open up the space to others to help us share relevant information that can benefit conservation professionals and institutions in every area of the world. We are extremely grateful to those in our network who have shared their knowledge with us, and to all those that have reached out to us during this period.
We have also a declaration and call to action for those in our field to come together to seek ways to use heritage as a tool of recovery and resilience, while protecting its vulnerabilities and those who represent our vast sector.
We salute the efforts of all heritage workers and institutions who are facing an extremely challenging and unprecedented situation. Know that we are here to help, and together we will work united to safeguard our heritage and enhance its value as a driver of development and well-being.