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  • “Can the world’s special places be saved?” ask international cultural and conservation leaders

    Posted on September 7, 2017

    Ten years after being formed, INTO calls for greater support for special places at a time of massive climatic and political challenge

    On the 11th September 2017 National Trust leaders from around the world will gather in Bali, Indonesia, for the biennial conference of the International National Trusts Organisation (INTO).

    “In a changing world we have seen the retrenchment of government support for heritage in many countries and the growth of civil society organisations working in the heritage field. The need to share experiences and resources across the INTO network is now paramount.” Fiona Reynolds, INTO Chairman

    L’Albergo Diurno Metropolitano, Fondo Ambiente Italiano (FAI), Venice, Italy

    Trusts come in all shapes and sizes, from tiny Montserrat or Slovakia, through middling-sized organisations like the National Trust of Australia and the Gelderland Trust, to the ‘mother’ trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland at the other end.

    “The world’s special places have never faced this level of threat before. Our national parks, heritage buildings and intangible heritage are facing a perfect storm of climate change, political indifference and an unprecedented acceleration in unrestrained economic expansion.” Justin Albert, Director for Wales, National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    There have been many changes and developments in the heritage environment over INTO’s first ten years, including reduction in government support for heritage, growth of civil society organisations, and the new challenges posed by migration, changing demographics and other societal trends.

    “We can no longer rely on governments to do everything. Everywhere there are spending cuts and cost controls.  So it’s up to us to come together as a global movement to find innovative solutions and to engage people in the preservation of their shared heritage.” Catherine Leonard, INTO Secretary-General

    INTO is the umbrella body for the global family of trusts – now numbering 72 members – that come together to share experience and resources; to grow the capacity of existing trusts and help develop new ones in countries where they do not currently exist; and to be a global voice for matters of common concern.

    Morgan Lewis Windmill, Barbados National Trust

    But what defines a ‘national trust’?  Amongst the INTO membership the idea is quite a flexible one.   Some acquire properties while some concentrate more on campaigning; some are more interested in the natural environment and some in built heritage. Some have a mission for both.  Some work very closely with government while others are fervent critics of the state.

    10 years after the foundation of INTO, the Bali Conference will see the launch of a new manual, From Start Up to Sustainability: An INTO Handbook for Heritage Trustsshowcasing the work, philosophy and organisational structures of trusts all around the world.

    Written by Dr June Taboroff (Cultural Resource Specialist) and Catherine Leonard (INTO Secretary-General), the Handbook demonstrates what is unique and special about the national trust approach, why they matter and what they can achieve in all parts of the world.

    “The Handbook is an invaluable resource, full of great tips from across the INTO family both for people and groups thinking of establishing a trust, but also for existing organisations to be inspired by the activities of other INTO members.” Emily Drani, Executive Director, Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda

    Entitled Our Cultural Heritage, the Key to Environmental Sustainability, the 17th International Conference of National Trusts will welcome over 200 heritage leaders from all four corners of the globe to explore the connection between cultural tradition and concerns for sustainable development, with a focus on concrete and practical solutions.

    “I am delighted that the Indonesian Heritage Trust has taken up the baton us from Cambridge and will be welcoming the INTO family to Bali in September.  We are so proud of our role within the global trust movement and having attended the last two Conferences, I know from experience the value of meeting in person to learn and share.”  Dame Helen Ghosh, Director-General, National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland

    Delegates at the 16th International Conference of National Trusts in Cambridge, 2015

    The Conference will also see the endorsement of the ‘Gianyar Declaration on Cultural Sustainability and Climate Change’ which sets out twelve strategies to mitigate and safeguard tangible and intangible heritage from the impacts of climate change.

    “Delegates gathered at the 17th International Conference of National Trusts in Gianyar will join together in one voice to encourage global leaders attending the UN Climate Change talks in Bonn (COP 23) in November to mitigate the impacts of climate change on our shared world heritage.” Oliver Maurice, INTO Director of Membership and Advocacy

    We are delighted to have received support from the American Express Foundation and the Helen Hamlyn Trust to enable the widest possible attendance at this year’s ICNT.   We are also grateful for a grant from the Daniel K. Thorne Foundation towards the INTO Heritage Trusts Handbook.

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