Global efforts like the Agenda 2030 are seeking a better future for people and the planet. This shift is also reflected within the heritage sector, where the dominant trend is a focus on people. As heritage matters to society as a whole, there is a strong call for people to be more engaged in heritage decision-making and for heritage to serve their wellbeing.
This major shift is not without challenges. The heritage sector must avoid past errors where overly expert-led heritage processes unfolded in isolation from the wider concerns of society and the environment. A new generation of heritage practitioners must now be sensitized to the benefits of engaging with a range of audiences in decision-making at different levels.
ICCROM has long been engaged in responding to these challenges, most recently within its programme Promoting People-Centred Approaches to Conservation (2011-2017). People-centred approaches are not only a question of increasing participation within a given management system. The approaches must also ensure that the people most connected to heritage are at the core of its conservation, while underlining the dynamic and mutually beneficial role of heritage in society. This issue has also become a priority of the heritage sector in general, and for organizations like the World Heritage Committee in particular. Publications and other tools are already available to share approaches and offer guidance.