ICOMOS at World Water Week 2019 in Stockholm

ICOMOS at World Water Week 2019 in Stockholm

The session is presented by

  • Nupur Prothi Khanna, Secretary General, ICOMOS International Scientific Committee for Cultural Landscapes;
  • Dr Nils Ahlberg, President, ICOMOS Sweden and Board Member, ICOMOS International (International Council on Monuments and Sites);
  • Dr Shadia Touqan, Director, Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARC-WH), under the auspices of UNESCO, Bahrain;
  • Dr Tino Mager, Researcher, Centre for Global Heritage and Development, TU Delft, The Netherlands / Board member, ICOMOS Germany.


The session “WATER AND HERITAGE, traditional knowledge for the future” is our contribution to the World Water Week 2019 in Stockholm.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), advisors to UNESCO on cultural heritage, and the Arab Regional Centre on World Heritage (ARC-WH) presented a sofa session on “WATER AND HERITAGE, traditional knowledge for the future” at the World Water Week (WWW) in Stockholm 2019.

Our common water is a heritage for all. It has all through history been a decisive factor for human life and activity, and the forming of society. We at the leading Water Forum WWW shed light the importance of traditional water-related knowledge and practices for safeguarding the future of local communities and global water management. Taking into account water heritage is pivotal to WWW for a holistic understanding of global water management.

Cultural heritage is an essential part of Agenda 2030, the New Urban Agenda, and discussions on climate change, adaptation and mitigation, as well as the nature-culture dialogue with IUCN (the International Union for Conservation of Nature) and is included in the Rights Based Approach. Heritage is a right for all, irrespective of gender, age, ethnicity, belief system, minority status. The ICOMOS Delhi Declaration (2017) released at the 19th ICOMOS General Assembly in India reflects our commitment to Heritage and Democracy as “…a starting point for a meaningful and equitable future that secures and celebrates diversity, social engagement, equality and justice for all cultures.”

We work on connecting the global agenda with the wisdom and experience embedded in cultural heritage. We connect theory with practice. As illustrated by examples from around the world, we draw attention to the need to take into account the people’s perspective on water, which is embedded in deep traditional wisdom, local traditional knowledge systems, historic practices and their relevance to making a real and lasting difference on the ground in favour of a sustainable future.

ICOMOS is a unique worldwide professional expert organisation in the field of cultural heritage. It acts as advisory body to UNESCO on cultural heritage in general and World Heritage Convention (whose list includes a large number of water heritage sites) specifically. It is active in UN and other global cooperation activities, including on sustainable development, Agenda 2030 and human rights issues. ICOMOS has  an extensive and well-established network of cooperation with , IGOs, NGOs and a wide range of institutions related to heritage, e.g. International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), International Council of Museums (ICOM), International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA), The International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage(TICCIH), Europa Nostra, the European Commission, Council of Europe, universities and heritage administrations around the world.

ICOMOS and ARC-WH hope to contribute to the theme of next year’s WWW on climate and water.