Focus on Inter-Linkages of Natural & Cultural Heritage Continues with Prague Conference May 16-19

US/ICOMOS is honored to be among the sponsors of ‘Nature & Culture: Heritage in Context,’ an important conference that runs from Monday, 16 May, 2016 to Thursday, 19 May, 2016 in Prague.  The conference follows a major Forum in France last month hosted by L’Atelier technique des espaces naturels (ATEN) in partnership with numerous organizations including ICOMOS France on the theme “Patrimoines naturels et culturels, enjeux et synergie.”  The Prague conference proceeds the Nature-Culture Journey being hosted by ICOMOS, IUCN (lnternational Union for Conservation of Nature) and host of cultural and natural heritage organizations from around the world at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in September.

The international focus on the inter-linkages of natural and cultural heritage is born of necessity.  Experience demonstrates that in many landscapes, natural and cultural heritage are inextricably bound together and that conservation of these places depends upon better integration.  Accomplishing this has increasingly profound consequences for a host of issues from climate change adaptation to food security to urban resilience.

What this means for researchers and professionals is a necessity for inter- and multi-disciplinary conservation and preservation efforts. Gone are the days when heritage professionals can oppose ecological conservation efforts – and vice versa – without significant effects to the resources. On the other hand, increased efforts to achieve the conservation of integrated natural and cultural systems will result in higher adaptability and resilience, critical outcomes in the era of climate change.

The three-day Nature & Culture: Heritage in Context conference is the 7th in a series of annual conferences exploring the relevance of heritage in present-day society. This year’s conference is sponsored by the Center for Heritage and Society at the University of Massachusetts, in conjunction with the Faculty of Environmental Sciences at the Czech University of Life Sciences. The Czech Republic is a particularly appropriate location to explore the themes of the nature/culture interface, since both are an integral part of Czech culture and society.

The Conference explores this link between nature and culture in an interconnected series of events designed to highlight different ways of thinking about heritage, nature and their interface. The event will include a three-day scientific symposium, organized field trips to explore key cultural and natural heritage sites, and a juried film and photograph exhibition. Conference themes include (1) Communities in the aftermath of human- or natural-disturbances, (2) Large landscapes: Are nature and culture indivisible?, (3) the role of authenticity: When does heritage become a parody of itself?, and (4) the role of traditional and indigenous knowledge in heritage and nature conservation.

Tim Badman, Director of IUCN’s World Heritage Programme, is to be a major speaker at this year’s conference. Tim has been senior IUCN spokesperson on World Heritage since 2007. He speaks for IUCN on all matters concerning the World Heritage Convention, including IUCN’s work on monitoring all listed natural sites and evaluating new proposals for World Heritage Listing. Mr. Badman has been a leading figure in the Connecting Practice initiative, a joint project of IUCN and ICOMOS exploring how to form a more genuinely integrated consideration of natural and cultural heritage under the World Heritage Convention – ‘bridging the divide’ that is often observed between nature and culture – overcoming the many unintended adverse outcomes that can result.
Unable to attend the Prague conference in person?  US/ICOMOS will be live tweeting from the event beginning Monday, May 16!  Follow the action at @usicomos_cl.

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