In 2017 at the ICOMOS General Assembly and Symposium in Delhi, ICOMOS Canada proposed a resolution for the organization to develop practices to better understand and conserve Indigenous cultural heritage. As a result, ICOMOS has undertaken work to explore the application of Indigenous values and cultural heritage, especially in the context of the World Heritage Convention.
ICOMOS Canada is coordinating the initial steps of the initiative. In 2019, it commissioned a study that covered the relationship between World Heritage Committee decisions and Indigenous values.
The study provides background on and discussion of indigenous heritage in the World Heritage context. Background consists of history of representation of indigenous heritage in World Heritage sites and decisions and actions taken by the World Heritage Committee with respect to indigenous peoples and their heritage. Discussion focuses on recent and ongoing challenges and opportunities for better understanding and recognizing indigenous heritage as World Heritage.
As per the Terms of Reference, this report is expected to inform discussions within the ICOMOS Indigenous Heritage Working Group and development of a work plan, including for organization of an international workshop. The report does not seek to make definitive statements on indigenous heritage and how it should be addressed in the World Heritage context, nor can the report speak to how ICOMOS interacts directly with indigenous peoples or States Parties.