News & events > Drafting of a UNESCO Recommendation on Museums and Collections: ASEMUS Chair Reports
03 Aug 2015

Drafting of a UNESCO Recommendation on Museums and Collections: ASEMUS Chair Reports

UNESCO Recommendation on Museums and Collections Since 2011, UNESCO is discussing the adoption of an international Recommendation in the field of museums and collections. In this context, an intergovernmental meeting of technical and legal experts was held in Paris on 27 and 28 May 2015. Among the participants was Fionnuala Croke, the Chair of ASEMUS, who reports on the event. "At a UNESCO intergovernmental meeting in Paris in May, a revised draft of the “Recommendation on the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections” was drawn up by Member States, in close cooperation with the International Council of Museums (ICOM). I attended in my capacity as Chair of ASEMUS, and as such I was one of a number of observers from professional networks. As you can see, the title of the paper was altered as a result of the meeting, to include ‘Collections’ as well as museums. This alteration was the result of much debate between Member States. While observers are allowed to comment briefly, but not to make proposals in relation to the document, I noted that a definition of the ‘Collections’ that are covered by the recommendations would be important as the term held different significance for different states. Fortunately, a number of Member States had museum colleagues present with them to ensure that their views were incorporated into the discussions. The final paper will be presented for approval by Member States at the UNESCO General Conference in November this year. The need for the Recommendation originates from the desire to supplement and extend the application of standards and principles laid down in existing international instruments referring to the place of museums, and to their related roles and responsibilities. The only international instrument wholly dedicated to museums dates to 1960! The Recommendation is not binding, but its importance lies in its iteration of clear guidelines and standards that should be aspired to by Member States in supporting the work of museums." For additional information about this process and access to previous and current drafts, please visit