FUKUOKA – Toshiyuki Kono, the new president of the International Council on Monuments and Sites — an advisory body to UNESCO — stressed his intention Thursday to step up efforts to protect important cultural heritage.
“I’m aware of the heavy responsibility” vested within the position, the Kyushu University law professor told a news conference at the school in the city of Fukuoka. “I want to build systems to protect cultural heritage from a global point of view.”
Kono, 59, pointed out that the council has been relatively inactive in Africa and the Asia-Pacific region excluding East Asia, although its network is spreading throughout the world.
He expressed an eagerness to develop ICOMOS into a “truly global organization of cultural heritage professionals” partly by enhancing ties with these inactive regions.
Kono, hailing from Osaka, became a member of the ICOMOS executive committee in 2011 and vice president of the council in 2014. Earlier this month, he was elected president of ICOMOS for a three-year term at its general meeting in New Delhi. Kono is the first Japanese national to lead ICOMOS.