refers to the tangible and intangible heritage of rural and peri-rural/peri-urban areas. Peri-rural/peri-urban areas form the landscape interface between town/city and country. As urban transition zones, they host diverse and changing land uses that frequently clash but can also complement one another – that is, they are multifunctional. Rural landscape heritage encompasses physical attributes – the productive landscape or waterscape itself, landscape morphology, water, infrastructure, vegetation, settlements, rural buildings and centers, vernacular architecture, transport, and trade networks – as well as wider physical, cultural, symbolic and environmental linkages and settings. Rural heritage includes associated cultural knowledge, traditions, practices, skills, science, oral memory, expressions of local identity and belonging, and the cultural values and meanings attributed to rural heritage assets of all types by past and contemporary individuals and communities.

Global growth and shifting of the human population, climate change, desertification and other pressures make rural heritage and traditions vulnerable to degradation, loss, abandonment and other disruptive change.

Opportunities and threats to rural heritage and rural landscapes can be linked to the inter-related categories of continuity and change that encompasses the three pillars of sustainability – environment; economy, and society – and the overarching presence of tangible and intangible cultural heritage.  The Five themes for the symposium are (click on each for examples):

  1. Rural Culture and Heritage
  2. Rural Economics and Heritage
  3. Rural Environment and Heritage
  4. Rural Society and Heritage
  5. Moroccan Rural Heritage

The 2019 ICOMOS Scientific Symposium on the theme of Rural Heritage – Landscapes and Beyond addresses the state of rural heritage by drawing on a series of sub-themes as set out in the ICOMOS-IFLA Principles Concerning Rural Landscapes as Heritage, a doctrinal text adopted in 2017 by ICOMOS and IFLA (International Federation of Landscape Architects). The symposium will investigate, explore and reflect on the ways in which this guiding document can be implemented in the global work of rural landscape identification, documentation, safeguarding, promotion and awareness raising, and sustainable management at both local and global levels.  Proposals for Symposium Workshops should address one or more of these five aims:

  1. Explore the interconnected cultural and natural dimensions of varied rural landscape heritage, conservation and innovation that respects and safeguards these dynamic systems;[1]
  2. Examine ways to benchmark and share strategies for integration of inter-connected values in
    • evaluation,
    • management,
    • revitalization of rural landscapes and the full breadth of rural heritage;
  3. Consider the roles and actions of rural communities and local populations, the experience of integrating rural landscape heritage and all rural heritage through
    • conservation and development policies,
    • good governance and
    • application of appropriate tools;
  4. Reflect on the methods and tools for the identification, documentation and interpretation of rural landscape heritage and the full breadth of rural heritage to
    • support appropriate policies at all administrative levels, and
    • raise awareness among all actors on the values of rural landscapes and all rural heritage; and
  5. Discuss a range of examples, themes and trends to reflect on the ICOMOS-IFLA Principles Concerning Rural Landscapes as Heritage;
    • identify ways of bringing forward broader actions on behalf of the global wealth of rural heritage
    • a potential focus on application in the collaborative work of ICOMOS and IUCN, and other national and international partners.


[1] It is intended that this goal will link to the findings and insights of a number of international Nature-Culture Journey symposia to include the IUCN World Conservation Congress [Hawaii, USA; 2016]; ICOMOS General Assembly Scientific Symposium [Delhi, India; 2017]; IFLA Culture Nature Knowledge Cafes [Singapore; 2018] and US/ICOMOS Symposium [San Francisco; 2018]).