HIST and ICOMOS sign MoU for Collaboration on Space Technologies for World Cultural Heritage Conservation


On 21 November 2022, Prof. Huadong Guo, Director of the International Centre on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage (HIST) under the auspices of UNESCO, and Dr. Teresa Patricio, President of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) online to shape a long-term strategic partnership for the protection and preservation of World Cultural Heritage sites internationally.


 Prof. Huadong Guo and Dr. Teresa Patricio sign Memorandum of Understanding

UNESCO has inscribed 897 cultural heritage sites and 39 mixed (both cultural and natural) sites on the World Heritage List. Some of them may face multiple challenges caused by natural disasters, anthropogenic activities, climate change and other hazards. It is widely recognized that space information technologies can play an important role in the identification, monitoring, evaluation, presentation, restoration, conservation and management of World Cultural Heritage. Within this context, the 44th extended session of World Heritage Committee requested States Parties, the World Heritage Centre, the Advisory Bodies, UNESCO Category 2 Centres and other relevant institutions to continue exploring collaborative partnerships, which apply innovative technological advances in remote sensing to the improved monitoring and protection of World Heritage properties.

Under the MoU, both HIST and ICOMOS will focus on priority areas of collaboration: monitoring and evaluation, research and consultation, capacity building, information exchange and event organization in the next five years.

“As this year marks the 50th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention and the beginning of HIST’s second decade of development, both leading international organizations take the lead in undertaking joint actions to support the implementation of theConvention and theUN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by employing cutting-edge technologies, such as space technologies, to offer global public goods and services,” said Prof. Huadong Guo, Director of HIST.

“In today’s world, communities are facing all types of natural and man-made disasters that end with large-scale destruction of heritage sites and communities. ICOMOS believes that collaborating with HIST will help us to develop more comprehensive impact assessment of natural and human induced hazards on cultural heritage properties and their surroundings. Improving documentation through space technologies is a step forward in our common efforts to preserve Natural and Cultural Heritage Sites,” said Dr. Teresa Patricio, President of ICOMOS.

“It is our hope that this MOU will open the door to a fruitful collaboration between ICOMOS and HIST as we both have a lot to offer each other. I have absolutely no doubt that we will develop good projects together because we are all driven by a common desire to improve the conditions for the preservation of cultural heritage. And we both know that space technologies can be a powerful asset for this,” said Dr. Marie-Laure Lavenir, Director General of ICOMOS.

“The ICOMOS AeroSpace Heritage Group [future ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on AeroSpace Heritage] follows the work of HIST with great interest, especially in the areas of aerospace technologies and their use for scientific research and monitoring of heritage places, and therefore welcomes its formal signing of the memorandum of understanding with ICOMOS. HIST’s efforts and aspirations on facilitating international cooperation on cultural and natural heritage preservation by using remote sensing and space technologies are remarkable and we look forward to seeing new collaborations between HIST and heritage sites globally,” said Dr. Gai Jorayev, President-designate of the future ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on AeroSpace Heritage.

Other participants joining the ceremony included Professor Wang Xinyuan, Deputy Director of HIST; Professor Fulong Chen, Deputy Director of HIST; Ms. Gaia Jungeblodt, Director of ICOMOS International Secretariat; Ms. Regina Durighello, Director of ICOMOS Advisory and Monitoring Unit; Ms. Yuna Mathan, Communications Coordinator of ICOMOS International Secretariat; Dr. Haiming Yan, Director of ICOMOS China Secretariat.

Representatives from HIST and ICOMOS

TheInternational Centre on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage (HIST) under the auspices of UNESCO is an international organization established in 2011 by UNESCO as a Category 2 Centre in Beijing, China, and hosted by Aerospace Information Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Sciences. It is devoted to developing and utilizing space technologies for the identification, conservation, monitoring and management of UNESCO-designated sites to support UNESCO and its Member States in the implementation of the World Heritage Convention and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

TheInternational Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is a non-governmental, not for profit international organisation, committed to furthering the conservation, protection, use and enhancement of the world’s cultural heritage. With over 11,000 members, 100+ National Committees, 30 International Scientific Committees and several Working Groups, ICOMOS has built a solid philosophical, doctrinal and managerial framework for the sustainable conservation of heritage around the world. As an official Advisory Body to the World Heritage Committee for the implementation of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, ICOMOS evaluates nominations and advises on the state of conservation of properties inscribed on the World Heritage List.