The INTO Congress (AGM) and 13th International Conference of National Trusts was held in Ireland from 13th – 17th September 2009, hosted by An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland. This was the first gathering of the National Trust movement since the establishment of INTO in December 2007 and had as its theme “Heritage of the World in Trust: Conservation in a Changing Climate,” around which plenary presentations, working sessions and site visits revolved.
Delegates attending the conference signed a declaration, entitled the ‘Dublin Declaration’, which sent a clear message to world leaders and those attending Copenhagen to prioritise heritage protection in strategies on climate change.
Our Chairman, Simon Molesworth, said that National Trusts share the responsibility of maintaining our global heritage for future generations: “National Trusts can set the standards for sustainable property custodianship, ensuring we have a neutral carbon footprint: we can be responsible exemplars in a world facing great change. How we respond to this new world order will vary from country to country as climate change manifests itself in differing ways around the globe.”
Keynote speakers during the opening session were Mary Robinson, Director of Realising Rights, who delivered a paper on the impact of climate change on human rights; Eamonn Hayes, a 16-year old student from Ballina, Co. Tipperary, who called on delegates to spread the message that the world is not just for this generation; Richard Moe, President of the US National Trust for Historic Preservation, who spoke about conserving and improving our existing built resources to combat climate change, and Dame Fiona Reynolds, Director General of the National Trust for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who presented a paper on how the current economic climate offers challenges and opportunities for the heritage movement.
The conference was officially opened by the Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government, John Gormley TD. It was funded with the support of the Irish Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government and the Getty Foundation, amongst others.
The INTO Congress reviewed progress to date and was engaged together with the Executive Committee and
Secretariat in the process of guiding our priorities and helping ensure the success of our mission.
In her closing speech, Catherine Leonard said “INTO is a coming together of sister organisations around the world –a union of conservation bodies that share much more than just a name. Comradeship and a sense of belonging to a global movement are as important today as they were in the late nineteenth century when the early Trusts were established. INTO seeks to amplify and maintain the feeling of mutual support we all experience so intensely at the ICNT, the heart of our movement.”
You can read David Brown’s excellent summary blog about the Dublin ICNT here.