UN Habitat – Goals and Actions for Heritage Conservation

Author: Katlyn Cotton
Aug 09, 2008

The Habitat Agenda Goals and Principles, Commitments and the Global Plan of Action

Below are the Goals and Actions established by UN Habitat as they relate to heritage conservation. It is a good check list for all of us to see if we are addressing the issues that need our attention. The section and paragraph numbers are the same as in the original Habitat document.8. Conservation and rehabilitation of the historical and cultural heritage

152. Historical places, objects and manifestations of cultural, scientific, symbolic, spiritual and religious value are important expressions of the culture, identity and religious beliefs of societies. Their role and importance, particularly in the light of the need for cultural identity and continuity in a rapidly changing world, need to be promoted. Buildings, spaces, places and landscapes charged with spiritual and religious value represent an important element of stable and humane social life and community pride.

Conservation, rehabilitation and culturally sensitive adaptive reuse of urban, rural and architectural heritage are also in accordance with the sustainable use of natural and human made resources. Access to culture and the cultural dimension of development is of the utmost importance and all people should be able to benefit from such access.


153. To promote historical and cultural continuity and to encourage broad civic participation in all kinds of cultural activities, Governments at the appropriate levels, including local authorities, should:

(a) Identify and document, whenever possible, the historical and cultural significance of areas, sites, landscapes, ecosystems, buildings and other objects and manifestations and establish conservation goals relevant to the cultural and spiritual development of society;

(b) Promote the awareness of such heritage in order to highlight its value and the need for its conservation and the financial viability of rehabilitation;

(c) Encourage and support local heritage and cultural institutions, associations and communities in their conservation and rehabilitation efforts and inculcate in children and youth an adequate sense of their heritage;

(d) Promote adequate financial and legal support for the effective protection of the cultural heritage;

(e) Promote education and training in traditional skills in all disciplines appropriate to the conservation and promotion of heritage;

(f) Promote the active role of older persons as custodians of cultural heritage, knowledge, trades and skills.

154. To integrate development with conservation and rehabilitation goals, Governments at the appropriate levels, including local authorities, should:

(a) Recognize that the historical and cultural heritage is an important asset, and strive to maintain the social, cultural and economic viability of historically and culturally important sites and communities;

(b) Preserve the inherited historical settlement and landscape forms, while protecting the integrity of the historical urban fabric and guiding new construction in historical areas;

(c) Provide adequate legal and financial support for the implementation of conservation and rehabilitation activities, in particular through adequate training of specialized human resources;

(d) Promote incentives for such conservation and rehabilitation to public, private and nonprofit developers;

(e) Promote community based action for the conservation, rehabilitation, regeneration and maintenance of neighbourhoods;

(f) Support public and private sector and community partnerships for the rehabilitation of inner cities and neighbourhoods;

(g) Ensure the incorporation of environmental concerns in conservation and rehabilitation projects;

(h) Take measures to reduce acid rain and other types of environmental pollution that damage buildings and other items of cultural and historical value;

(i) Adopt human settlements planning policies, including transport and other infrastructure policies, that avoid environmental degradation of historical and cultural areas;

(j) Ensure that the accessibility concerns of people with disabilities are incorporated in conservation and rehabilitation projects.


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