Since 1971, the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property has been known as ‘ICCROM‘, an acronym created by merging International Centre for Conservation and Centre of Rome.
ICCROM is an intergovernmental organisation that promotes the preservation and restoration of cultural heritage in all its different expressions and in all regions of the world. 137 member states are part of it.
ICCROM was created after World War II in response to the need for shared guidelines for post-war reconstruction and heritage preservation activities. During the ninth session of the UNESCO General Conference, held in New Delhi in 1956, a resolution was passed to create an international centre for preservation and restoration. Following an agreement signed with the Italian government in 1957, the Centre was established in Rome in 1959. This location was not a random choice and went on to demonstrate Italy’s excellent standards in the field of preserving and restoring cultural heritage, already proven by the two decades of activity by the Istituto Centrale del Restauro (Central Institute of Restoration, founded in Rome in 1939); a few years later, Italy’s achievements were further confirmed when the International Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites was signed in Venice in 1964, after being drawn up by the architect Piero Gazzola, who represented Italy on the ICCROM Board for almost twenty years (from 1960 to 1978).
ICCROM is an advisory body for the UNESCO World Heritage Convention (1972) and also works closely with other international organisations, universities and scientific institutes in the various member states. For Italy, cooperation with the Istituto Superiore per la Conservazione e il Restauro (Higher Institute for Preservation and Restoration) is of particular importance.
This organisation’s work focuses on identifying the most suitable methods to best prevent and reduce the deterioration of heritage; this deterioration may be due to slow decay or rapid or sudden changes caused by natural disasters or armed conflicts. A vast amount of work involving training, information, research, cooperation and awareness raising goes into developing and disseminating these methods on a global scale.
• Training: ICCROM organises courses and professional training activities around the world, providing innovative educational programmes, cutting-edge tools and materials and trainers with proven expertise and experience.
• Information: ICCROM has one of the world’s richest libraries in the field of conservation, not to mention a vast collection of world cultural heritage photographs. The Centre shares information on its scientific and educational activities through publications, its website and social media.
• Research: ICCROM advises preservation institutes on research programmes and coordinates the sharing of knowledge and experiences, providing the various professionals in the heritage sector with opportunities for stimulating and collaborative interdisciplinary discussions and meetings.
• Cooperation: ICCROM offers technical advice and site visits and promotes cooperation on both an interregional and international scale in the fields of preservation and restoration, also on the basis of broader diplomatic cooperation between the various countries.
• Awareness raising: ICCROM works to raise awareness among international organisations, governments and communities regarding the preservation and restoration of cultural heritage; it promotes the increasing involvement of communities in the management and preservation of heritage, in line with environmental, social and economic sustainability objectives; it is committed to helping to create more inclusive, stable and just societies.
In recent years, under the aegis of UNESCO, the international community’s commitment to protecting cultural heritage in crisis situations caused by natural disasters or armed conflicts and to the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural heritage has become increasingly important, also following a number of resolutions approved by the United Nations Security Council (2199 and 2253 of 2015, 2347 of 2017). ICCROM participates in numerous initiatives in this field, such as the ‘ProCultHer’ (Protecting Cultural Heritage from the consequences of disasters) and ‘First Aid to Cultural Heritage in times of conflict’ programmes.
ICCROM’s programmes are also perfectly in line with the goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, with a particular focus on Africa.
Headquarters: Via di San Michele 13, 00153 Rome