ICCROM: putting people at the heart of conserving nature and culture

Travelling the length of Italy – from Naples via Rome to Trento – 22 participants have explored the challenge of putting people back into the centre of conservation. The aim of the People-Centred Approaches (PCA) course has been to strengthen practitioners’ understanding of communities as a core component of heritage management and so ensuring that natural and cultural heritage has a dynamic and mutually beneficial role in society today and long into the future.

This course was also an opportunity to create a forum for participants to share their own experiences from both the cultural and natural heritage sectors, learning from each other and others who are actively involved with communities and heritage. Over two weeks they enjoyed a rich programme of presentations, interactive sessions on sharing experiences, site visits and practical exercises based on examples in the field. Visits took in diverse components of World Heritage properties including the “Archaeological Areas of Pompei, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata”, “The Dolomites” and “Prehistoric Pile Dwellings Around the Alps,” as well as the “Ledro Alps and Judicaria” and the “Somma-Vesuvio and Miglio d’Oro” Biosphere Reserves, in addition to the MuSe museum.

During the final session, participants shared their analysis of a range of case studies, making recommendations for supporting successful people-centred approaches and moving towards adapting them with other heritage. One participant reflected on the overall experience of the course, saying: “I will certainly change the way I have been practising conservation […] I will start thinking how conservation and heritage can be an asset to empower people economically and socially.”

This course, now in its third edition, has recently been integrated into the new World Heritage Leadership programme, which emerged as a response to the growing concerns over the divide between nature and culture. The World Heritage Leadership Programme is delivered by IUCN and ICCROM in collaboration with ICOMOS and World Heritage Centre and other organizations and is being developed with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Environment and other partners. This programme will focus on promoting links between nature-culture-communities in the management of heritage sites and securing heritage a more dynamic role in wider sustainable development.


In collaboration with: 

Herculaneum Conservation ProjectMuSeMuseo delle Palafitte del Lago di LedroParco Archeologico di ErcolanoProvincia Autonoma di TrentoTrento School of ManagementUNESCO Dolomites Foundation.

Member States represented:

Brazil, China, Egypt, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, India, Iran, Italy, Mauretania, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Turkey, United States, Zambia