This nexus between heritage and development is a fundamentally American idea, enshrined in our national heritage policy. This is evident nowhere more clearly than in the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, which bases US national historic preservation policy on the grounds of cultural, educational, aesthetic, inspirational, economic, and energy benefits. As a result of the U.S.’s 50 years of experience in these matters, there is a vast network of US heritage professionals who have been actively engaged at the intersection of global sustainable development, disaster risk reduction and climate change work. In sum, there is a tremendous amount of experience, knowledge and learning in the United States that supports the wisdom of the “Urban SDG” and Target 11.4.
In a letter to The Honorable Nerissa J. Cook, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, and Mr. Tony Pippa, US Special Coordinator for the Post-2015 Development Agenda, US/ICOMOS issued a call for the United States Government to support the mainstreaming of cultural heritage into the UN Post-2015 Development Agenda.
In the letter, on behalf of historic preservationists and heritage organizations across the United States, US/ICOMOS requests that the United States support the retention of Target 11.4 as drafted in the SDG Outcome Document in the final SDGs. It also observed that Cultural heritage similarly plays an important role in the work of the third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development to take place in Quito, Ecuador (“Habitat III”); the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (“COP21”) and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. Each of these processes addresses related elements of sustainable development, and US/ICOMOS has been active in addressing the heritage dimensions of all of them.