This major symposium on cultural heritage issues and cultural property conservation in Asian and Pacific countries was sponsored by the U.S. Information Agency and organized by the United States Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (US/ICOMOS), in close cooperation with the Getty Conservation Institute.

The symposium focused on conservation issues in Asia and the Pacific, with particular attention to policies and conditions specific to the region. Fifty individuals from various nations of the Pacific Rim participated. In an effort to open a dialogue that would ultimately advance the interests of the nations involved regarding cultural heritage protection, the symposium attempted to identify themes that were of recognized and shared interest for the entire region. Among the issues addressed in the presentations and discussions were the factors that threaten cultural property (including the impact of policy on cultural properties protection) and practical means of providing for the protection of cultural resources. Concern with government policies—explicit and tacit—that unintentionally impede or conflict with the effort to protect the cultural resources of nations, as well as losses and damage to sites resulting from inattention and ill-conceived priorities, was a general theme of the meeting.

Commissioned to frame issues for discussion in plenary sessions and in working groups, two keynote papers by international experts explored legal aspects of cultural heritage protection and management of cultural sites. Three background papers covered the legislation of the fifteen nations represented, regional professional training opportunities, and tropical environmental conditions that challenge managers of sites and collections. Five general questions relevant to conservation awareness, legislative action, and policy implementation served to organize the discussion: How can support for heritage protection be promoted among the general public? In what ways can government officials encourage citizens to value cultural heritage? When new cultural heritage policies are being considered, how can government officials prepare for their approval and implementation? How can governments identify partnerships that will enhance their ability to protect the cultural heritage? What strategies improve a nation's ability to protect cultural heritage without economic loss? In addition to speeches, general discussions, and workshops, the symposium included visits to selected sites.

Following the conference, the GCI published the proceedings, entitled Cultural Heritage in Asia and the Pacific: Conservation and Policy.

Related articles in Conservation, the GCI Newsletter