2007 was the year the world began to discover the scale of the financial crisis. Apple unveiled the “iphone”. The Saffron Revolution took place in Myanmar. JK Rowling published her final Harry Potter story. And the International National Trusts Organisations was launched on 3 December in New Delhi.
Given the impending reduction in funding available for many things, including heritage conservation, it was a brave time to establish a new organisation. Nevertheless over the last ten years, through the passion and dedication of its many supporters, INTO has made great strides towards its lofty mission to ‘promote the conservation and enhancement of the heritage of all nations for the benefit of the people of the world and future generations’.
You can find out more about INTO’s achievements on our new interactive timeline.
The National Trusts of the world have been coming together since the 1970s under the aegis of the International Conference of National Trusts (ICNT). The Founders of INTO – the leading National Trusts of the world – saw an opportunity to build on the ICNT buzz. To provide the space for people to share information, best practices and inspiration more readily. To develop a support and communications network to connect and encourage organisations all over the world. And to give voice to the collective movement of National Trusts on the global stage.
And so INTO was launched, the Secretariat was established in January 2008, kindly hosted by the National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and INTO was eventually formally registered as a company (October 2008) and charity (February 2009).
Since 2007, INTO has developed from a loose confederation of like-minded organisations to a legally constituted, purposeful and well-positioned network. Membership has grown from 22 in 2008 to 76 in 2017. New Trusts have been established with INTO’s help in the Czech Republic, Georgia and Portugal. INTO has advertised 120 working holidays on behalf of its member organisations. Five ICNTs have been held in four continents involving over 700 delegates from more than 70 countries. (The next edition will be hosted by the Bermuda National Trust in March 2019.)
Whether at its biennial conference or through joint ventures like the “Encourage African youth to embrace their heritage” project or this year’s staff exchange between the National Trusts of Canada and Australia, INTO’s activities build the impact of the conservation and heritage movement across the globe.
Supporting members of the National Trust family in the achievement of their goals by providing opportunities to collaborate and share ideas, resources, skills and knowledge is an important aspect of INTO’s work.
“Over the past ten years, I have watched INTO grow from a brave idea into a flourishing global network and I was delighted to join as Chair in September 2015. The National Trust family brought together under INTO goes from strength to strength as people from across the globe collaborate and share knowledge, enabling them to grow their organisations.
I relish the opportunity of building on this in INTO’s next decade, when we will provide more support to our member organisations, more opportunity to connect and learn, and speak out more often on issues of common concern. A huge ‘thank you’ to all our members who have enabled INTO to be the success it is recognised as today. None of this would have been possible without your commitment, dedication and sheer hard work. Many thanks too to the many volunteers who have helped deliver our programmes and services.” Dame Fiona Reynolds, Chairman of INTO
Growing global capacity for conservation is another key strategy. INTO’s Small Grants Programme has supported awareness-raising on Bunce Island, Sierra Leone; sending a volunteer heritage adviser to the National Trust of Fiji; and the National Trust of Slovakia’s rebranding exercise. INTO has helped establish new Trusts in the Czech Republic, Portugal and Georgia (as detailed in “From Start-up to Sustainability: An INTO Handbook for Heritage Trusts”) and they are in similar discussions with partners from Slovenia to South Africa; Thailand to Taiwan; Germany to Galicia.
“The International National Trusts Organisation (INTO) is the umbrella body for the global family of National Trusts and similar organisations that come together to share ideas, resources and experiences; to grow the capacity of existing trusts and establish new ones in countries where they do not currently exist; and to act as a global voice on international heritage matters.” Catherine Leonard, INTO Secretary-General
Growth is also about growing the movement and growing INTO itself. The capacity of the Secretariat has extended to include nine regular volunteers, with many others volunteering their time and expertise on an ad-hoc basis.
A third area of focus is speaking out on issues critical to its membership and celebrating what is unique and special about the National Trust approach. INTO’s “State of Global Heritage Report” highlighted apathy and indifference as a greater risk to the world’s heritage than climate change or conflict. The network has been represented at seven COPs over the past ten years (including Bonn only a few weeks ago), sharing the expertise and experience of INTO members in climate mitigation, adaptation and education at the United Nations talks. INTO also supports its members influencing campaigns, such as in Malta, Uganda and Saint Lucia.
“The 2007 ICNT brought two years of effort on the structure and launch of INTO to a close, as the work of the steering committee which had been constituted at the Washington 2005 ICNT led to the establishment of the world’s first international organization of National Trusts. It was exhilarating to see representatives from National Trusts all around the globe come together with such enthusiasm for this joint endeavor. Personally, having the opportunity to share the dais with the Prime Minister was a once-in-a-lifetime moment I’ll never forget.
Since that founding 10 years ago, INTO has grown and expanded its wings, tackling tough challenges and growing an inclusive membership and leadership group. The National Trust for Historic Preservation in the U.S. has benefited greatly by both supporting the work of National Trusts worldwide and receiving guidance and wisdom from the work of others.
Congratulations, INTO, on a strong first decade. Here’s to many more in the future.” David Brown, Executive Vice President and Chief Preservation Officer, National Trust for Historic Preservation
As INTO looks forward to its next decade, its leaders are even more convinced of the value of global co-operation. Conservation is not something that can be neatly parcelled into discrete national packages and the preservation of our built, cultural and natural heritage depends on collaboration. INTO’s new business plan builds on the notion of family and introduces new resources to facilitate exchange, growth and development as well as an ambitious new plan to improve connectivity across the National Trust network.
In the 2018-2020 period, INTO will build on its successful track record of transferring knowledge and expertise from more established Trusts to the smaller, younger ones. This means an increase in staffing at the INTO Secretariat and a ‘war chest’ of funding and other support to call upon through a new technical assistance programme, TAP-INTO.
Initially funded by grants and mobilising the expertise of INTO’s larger members, TAP-INTO will enable new National Trusts to form as quickly as possible and help get the smallest Trusts properly established with fantastic processes, resources and governance.
As the only organisation representing the interests of the National Trust movement at the global level INTO will develop its capacity, tools and platforms for speaking out on issues of common concern.
INTO’s mission is to ‘promote the conservation and enhancement of the natural and cultural heritage of all nations for the benefit of the people of the world’. Over the 2018-2020 period, INTO will draw on the combined experience, talents and resources of the worldwide National Trust movement and its global partners and supporters to take further strides towards achieving this outcome.
Join us in celebrating INTO’s first decade on 3 December! #10yearsofINTO
Last year, we published our State of Global Heritage Report which warned that apathy – which manifests itself in poor planning, insufficient funding and lack of public awareness – poses a greater risk than climate change, war and conflict or natural disasters. The report also highlighted some of the amazing work our INTO members are doing to combat these threats:
Entrusted to the nation by a donor in 1950, the future of Martindale Hall, South Australia, came under threat as the local government decided to sell it off to a property developer. Inspired by their visit to Wimpole Hall during the 2015 ICNT, the National Trust of South Australia put together a plan to develop it into a heritage-based tourism attraction.
Malaysian Independence was proclaimed in 1957 at the Merdeka Stadium in Kuala Lumpur. Etched on the psyche of all Malaysians, it was nearly demolished in the 1990s. INTO members, Badan Warisan Malaysia were able to help save Merdeka as part of a public-private partnership, which today holds sporting events and concerts alongside “The Road to Nationhood” museum.
Since the 1930s, the coast at Plémont had been scarred with the development of a series of holiday camps. When such holidays went into decline the site became vulnerable to redevelopment proposals commencing with an application in 1998 for 117 residential units. The National Trust for Jersey campaigned for the site to be “returned to nature” and Plémont came under its ownership in 2014.
Sdenka Fuertes, a young Bolivian architect, received death threats when trying to save and protect the Bickenbach country house in Cochabamba. Built in the Moorish style for the German family of Ernesto Bickenbach, the house and its garden setting became neglected and at risk of redevelopment. After a lengthy and menacing battle, the Bolivian Society for Historical Studies, Heritage and Restoration lobbied for the house to be expropriated and put to cultural use for the benefit of the city.
And INTO is currently working on a project with members in Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zimbabwe to educate and enthuse African youth to actively learn about and appreciate their cultural backgrounds – and those of their continental neighbours.
“As the international voice for the movement of National Trusts and related heritage bodies, INTO acts as a catalyst by which new Trusts are formed and adds capacity to existing organisations so that by working together we are better able to perform our responsibilities.” Simon Molesworth, Australian Council of National Trusts
“By joining the INTO, you are effectively employing a new team member, one with a wide range of experience and expertise to help your organisation grow and flourish.” Martin Scicluna, Din l’Art Helwa, National Trust of Malta
“INTO serves as an indispensable resource for sharing information, best practices, inspiration and encouragement among National Trusts and like-minded non-governmental organisations. It takes the aspirations, visions and missions of the individual Trusts and leverages those on the global stage.” David Brown, Executive Vice President and Chief Preservation Officer, National Trust for Historic Preservation (USA)
“INTO provides an opportunity to exchange information, ideas and best practice with National Trusts and similar heritage organisations around the world, and there’s a great sense of comradeship and common purpose too.” Simon Murray, Chief Operating Officer, National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland
“Working together through INTO, we can identify common problems and tackle these as a sector making our arguments more robust and our voice stronger.” Muhammed Mugheiry, Chairman, Zanzibar Stone Town Heritage Society
“As a small and relatively young NGO we appreciate the possibilities of cooperation with all INTO members and we are very happy to be a member of bigger family of National Trust – kind of organisations. For us INTO is the source of inspiration and professional knowledge.” Michaela Kubikova, Director, National Trust of Slovakia
“The global economic crisis is a crisis of vision and values. Honour, integrity, trust, vision, the feeling of history and perspective of where we have come from have been lost. But the National Trusts of the world are helping ordinary people to reassert these values – and to make their own connections across the globe.” Lord Frank Judd, former Director of Oxfam and Voluntary Service Overseas, former UK Minister for Overseas Development