With support from the British Council, ICCROM is working with partners on a project aimed at understanding how the conservation and management of built heritage can support the overall well-being of communities in Southeast Asia by contributing to inclusive growth. It involves sharing the field experiences of heritage institutions, NGOs, civil society organizations, professionals and researchers from the region and the United Kingdom.
While focused on built heritage, including historic and vernacular buildings, sites and settlements, the project also considers the inherent links between tangible and intangible dimensions of heritage through traditional crafts, socio-cultural practices and livelihoods. Participation is open to the entire Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to encourage wider regional learning.
The 2030 Agenda adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 integrates, for the first time, the role of culture in sustainable development, through cultural heritage and creativity.
This was further explored in a 2018 report published by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) in partnership with the British Council. Heritage for Inclusive Growth advocates for a systemic approach to bringing together heritage and economic development with a range of inclusive social, economic and environmental outcomes.
According to the report, the heritage sector has a key role to play in driving growth, supporting local communities and addressing social, economic and environmental inequalities, while also recognizing the cultural, symbolic and emotional factors that shape the identities and experiences of individuals, communities and places.