The national Dutch committee of International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) convened the conference Protecting delta’s: heritage helps! from 23-28 September 2013 in Amsterdam, to contribute towards safe and sustainable communities in delta regions.

More than 100 water, heritage and planning experts from over 20 countries answered the call to share innovative strategies on heritage protection and water management, to build and promote linkages within and between communities, and to identify opportunities to collaborate for mutual benefits.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is the international non-governmental organization of professionals, practitioners, institutions, and other bodies committed to and supporting the conservation/preservation of the cultural heritage of all peoples.

The conference took place in Amsterdam that celebrates the 400th anniversary of its Canal ring area, which is  a UNESCO World Heritage site.


Flooded Chaiwattanaram Temple, a UNESCO
World Heritage site, north of Bangkok
in October 2011.

Impact of global climate change
Several experts from the field of Heritage Protection and Water Management explored the possibilities of bridging the global changes in climate and its impact to heritage sites and cities.

The presentations brought together both worlds in the perspective of climate change and sustainable development.

According to ICOMOS the conference was the beginning of such a holistic perspective in heritage and water management. Policies need to be created, international networks need  to be organized and scholarly investigation on different sites need to be supported to fully understand the way for the future.

Statement of Amsterdam
The conference ended with the presentation of the 'Statement of Amsterdam', calling upon governments, intergovernmental organizations, the corporate sector and civil society to ensure adequate and concrete actions.


One of the actions mentioned, is to develop maps combining heritage and water information, to help raise the awareness of water experts, decision makers and the public about the heritage dimension of water management and the extent of waterrelated risks to societies and their natural and cultural heritage.

Another call for action is to share relevant information between agencies, early warning systems, protective measures, risk spreading measures including insurance, adaptation measures and even evacuation plans.

The statement will be forwarded to the ICOMOS General Assembly and Scientific Symposium in Florence, 2014 and the 7th World Water Forum in Korea, 2015.

This news item is based on news releases published on the special conference website Protecting Deltas, Heritage Helps.

More information
ICOMOS Nederland
Amersfoort, the Netherlands
+31 33 421 73 58

Compilation of the Icomos conference on heritage and water related risks.