Sydney will host 1,200 global heritage experts in 2020 at the next Triennial General Assembly of ICOMOS, the International Council on Monuments and Sites.
This will be the first time this event has been held in Australia, and it will generate an estimated $4 million for the visitor economy in addition to putting a spotlight on the importance of conservation.
President of Australia ICOMOS Ian Travers welcomed strong government backing, including $2.6 million in financial and in-kind support from the Australian and State governments, which helped Australia’s bid succeed. He also thanked Business Events Sydney (BESydney), who partnered with ICOMOS to secure the bid.
Mr Travers also highlighted the significance of Australia hosting the event. “The proposed General Assembly theme: ‘Shared Cultures – Shared Heritage – Shared Responsibility’ reflects both the global context of heritage as part of cultural identity at a time of rapid population shift and conflict, but also the important idea of shared stewardship, which is highly relevant to Traditional Owners of heritage places,” he said.
ICOMOS has over 10,000 members globally – architects, historians, planners, archaeologists and others – who provide expert advice to the World Heritage Committee and national governments. Delegates will visit iconic Australian heritage sites including the Sydney Opera House, Hyde Park Barracks and the Blue Mountains, which are being showcased on the world stage. The event will highlight stories and techniques for conserving important cultural sites.
Minister for the Environment and Energy, the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, welcomed the announcement that Australia would host the prestigious symposium.
“This is great news, coming so soon after Australia secured a seat on the World Heritage Committee. The Australian Government is working hard to improve conservation and access to places recognised for their heritage significance to Australia and the world. Hosting the General Assembly aligns with the Australian Government’s commitment to World Heritage and national leadership under the Australian Heritage Strategy,” he said.
NSW Heritage Minister Gabrielle Upton said the 2020 ICOMOS General Assembly would highlight NSW’s significant heritage conservation work.
“I want our state’s extraordinary heritage to get the focus it deserves. Protecting and preserving our heritage gives people the opportunity to enjoy and value our history,” Ms Upton said.
Lyn Lewis-Smith, CEO of BESydney, also believes that the event has the potential to create a significant long-term impact within the wider community. “We know that international events like the ICOMOS General Assembly can leave powerful legacies. By bringing the 2020 event to Australia we can help raise public awareness of our cultural heritage, and highlight the significant benefits of investing in its conservation for the future.”
The 2020 Opening Ceremony will be held at the Sydney Opera House, one of Australia’s iconic World Heritage Properties. Opera House CEO Louise Herron has welcomed the announcement, noting the opportunity it will present to “showcase Australia’s significant places and conservation achievements, as well as foster deeper understanding of its rich cultural heritage among international heritage professionals”.