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ICOMOS (International Council of Monuments and Sites)

- The only really international authority on monument conservation. Independant of government, it is open to people and institutions concerned with, and knowledgable in the field of conservation. It was created by UNESCO in 1965, essentially to promulgate the message of the Venice Charter. Originally European, it is steadily realising its ambition to be global. (The Triennial General Assembly was held in Sri Lanka). It has responsibility for World Heritage Sites.

An ICOMOS committee can be formed in any country which is a member of UNESCO, there are currently about 60, there are 14 International committees, and members are drawn from 75 countries. Headquaters are in Paris, and the working languages are English and French.

It was always intended that ICOMOS should play a lead role in doctrine by providing, as required, follow up texts to the principals embodied in the Venice Charter. The areas of interest of ICOMOS have now expanded to encompass for example, vernacular architecture, modern architecture, cultural landscapes, maritime archaeology, recording and documentation, and cultural tourism. Not surprisingly, given the cultural and geographical differences which exist between countries, the list of new charters and less important documents such as guidelines and directions is steadily increasing. General commentaries such as the Charter for Cultural Tourism (Brugges 1976) are becoming more focussed to particular countries or regions. There are now over 40 important documents. In addition to the first ever charter, Athens, the glossary lists Venice, Burra, Florence and Washington. There is no charter peculiar to the UK.