INTO is an international network of National Trusts and similar non-governmental organisations, globally diverse but united by a shared commitment to conserving and sustaining our shared heritage – built and natural, tangible and intangible.
This new organisation brings people together to exchange information, develop and promote best practice, and work to effect change. INTO’s mission is to “promote the conservation and enhancement of the heritage of all nations for the benefit of the people of the world and future generations”.
INTO offers a communications network that connects organisations around the world (website, e-bulletins, International Conference of National Trusts, workshops), an expert network and knowledge bank, capacity building support, training, strategies for collective advocacy, a forum for advancing intercultural understanding and the development of civil society. INTO has recently established a Small Grants Programme in support of its members.
The National Trust movement
Towards the end of the nineteenth century, organisations were beginning to be formed across the world with the aim of conserving fast-disappearing natural and cultural heritage.
The Society of the Preservation of Norwegian Ancient Monuments (Fortidsminneforeningen) was established in 1844 by artists who “discovered” Norway’s cultural heritage during academic excursions to rural districts and valleys, for example. The Trustees of Reservations in Massachusetts became the US’s first private non-profit conservation organisation in 1890 and the National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland was founded in 1895.
The National Trust movement has grown to include a range of countries from Australia, Barbados and Canada through Korea, Malta and the Netherlands to Taiwan, the United States and Zimbabwe.
Each organisation is different but they share similar goals, legal constitutions and structures, and for around 40 years have been coming together under the umbrella of the International Conference of National Trusts (ICNT) to share information and best practice, to develop solutions to common problems and to show solidarity with other members of the movement.
At the 10th ICNT in Edinburgh, delegates agreed the need to establish a global federation to coordinate activity between conferences and INTO was launched at the 12th ICNT in Delhi in December 2007.
Since the Delhi Conference INTO has advanced from a loose confederation of like-minded organisations to a legally constituted, purposeful and well-positioned network.
Today we have a fully committed Executive Committee and Board of Trustees who oversee the work of the Secretariat headed up by the Secretary General who deliver the development strategy. The INTO website is live and regularly updated and our membership numbers are now around 70 and rising.
Through cooperation, coordination and comradeship between the international community of National Trusts, INTO works to develop and promote best conservation practices, increase the capacity of individual organisations, establish Trusts where they do not presently exist, and advocate in the interests of heritage conservation.
INTO grew out of discussions in Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Declaration is one of its founding documents. INTO Edinburgh Declaration