On 18 April 2016 we held our first World Heritage Day event in Cambridge and launched our State of Global Heritage Report. Fiona Reynolds warned that apathy poses a greater risk to heritage than climate change, war and conflict or natural disasters.
With the help of our colleagues at the National Trust for Scotland, we surveyed the INTO membership. The aim was to understand their greatest challenges and opportunities.
It was surprising that the majority concern was about lack of engagement and support by governments and people.
Fiona gave the example of Merdeka Stadium, the place where independence was pronounced in 1957 and which is etched on the hearts of all Malaysians. Nonetheless it was slated for demolition in the 1990s, before being saved by a coalition of public private partners, including the Malaysian Heritage Trust (Badan Warisan Malaysia).
And of Martindale Hall in South Australia which was entrusted to public hands by a generous bequest in 1950 but which the State government has now advocated selling off for private development. The National Trust of South Australia launched its own proposal for the future management of the site. The team had been very much inspired by what they had seen at the Cambridge ICNT.
The invited audience saw images of members of Din l’Art Helwa, the National Trust of Malta, urging politicians to ‘protect our environment’ in a protest last year and of the National Trust for England, Wales and Northern Ireland’s campaign against government’s plans to unpick England’s planning legislation.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom however and Fiona highlighted some good news stories from across the INTO network. Firstly, FAI, the Italian National Trust’s successful Spring Days programme opening 900 special places to the general public across Italy. Secondly over 93% of all Irish schools participating part in An Taisce the National Trust for Ireland’s Green School programme. And finally the National Trust for Jersey‘s successful campaign to return 11 acres of blighted headland to nature.
Wonderful heritage education programmes in Japan, Zimbabwe, Uganda and India. Innovative ways of funding and managing heritage in Canada and the UK. These all show how National Trust like organisations can really make a difference. Huge thanks to our volunteer policy officer, Jorge Vicente Diaz, for putting together the State of Global Heritage Report and beautiful posters.
More information about the Report and Fiona’s speech can be found here.