News & events > ICOM Establishes New Working Group on Sustainability
21 Sep 2018

ICOM Establishes New Working Group on Sustainability

The International Council of Museums (ICOM) has recently announced the establishment of a Working Group on Sustainability, which will consider how to mainstream the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change across its range of activities. The Working Group's mandate also includes supporting ICOM members and their member museums to contribute constructively in upholding the SDGs and towards climate change adaptation and mitigation. The ICOM Working Group on Sustainability will consider different approaches to aspects of sustainability. It will consider the museums’ potential roles in cross-sectorial sustainability initiatives: through their collections, as information resources, as communicators, as educators, as facilitators, as activists and advocates, and as users of natural resources. Chaired by Morien Rees (Varanger Museum, Oslo, Norway), the working group is composed of members from various regions of the world who have been actively committed to addressing these issues in the museum and cultural heritage sectors. Among them is also Jenny Newell from the Australian Museum in Sydney, an ASEMUS member. The Working Group will be guided by the principles of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, both adopted in 2015, and the three related moral imperatives: satisfying human needs, ensuring social justice and respecting environmental limits. The Working Group is expected to deliver its recommendations in 2019, at the 25th ICOM Triennial Conference which will take place in Kyoto, Japan.

Further information

In the press release presenting the Working Group on Sustainability, ICOM argues that as representative of the global museum community, its vision is a world where the importance of natural and cultural heritage is universally valued. "Today, more than ever, museums face unique challenges related to social, economic, and ecological issues. While serving as witnesses of the past and guardians of humanity’s treasures for future generations, museums play a key role in development through education and democratisation." Museums offer an existing global infrastructure. They are uniquely placed to facilitate collective action by building networks, raising public awareness, and supporting research and knowledge creation. They can enhance sustainability and climate change education by working with and empowering communities to bring about change to ensure an habitable planet, social justice and equitable economic exchanges for the long term. For additional information about the ICOM Working Group on Sustainability, please visit