The INTACH-AusHeritage symposium in New Delhi, in April 2007, was not only to exchange ideas, concepts and practical conservation knowledge, and to reinforce an understanding of the the imperatives for conservation of our cultural heritages, but also it provided an opportuntity to review the application of the “Charter for the Conservation of Unprotected Architetural Heritage and Sites in India”. ‘Conservation’ in this regard meaning protection, preservation, repair, restoration, and ( where appropriate) adaptation and/or part reconstruction as well as interpretation of heritage significant buildings and sites. Conserving local cultural values and traditional practices and uses forms an important part of this process.
In March 2004 AusHeritage had the very great privilege of working with members and staff of INTACH to develop the framework of a charter for the conservation of significant heritage buildings and places in India not yet protected by exisiting heritage listings and legislation. The charter’s principles and guidelines were subsequently developed to best suit both the extraordinary and the ordinary, culturally significanct heritage buildings, structures and sites throughout India and taking into account traditional and indigenous practices as well as aspects of some western ideologies. During that process AusHeritage’s conservation architect and landscape architect members were able to draw upon their experiences of the practical application of the principles of the Australia ICOMOS (Burra) Charter for the conservation of places of cultural significance. The Burra Charter was developed in 1979, has had 2 subsequent reviews and, while not a legislative document, is widely accepted by communities and governments as the key reference for the assessment and debate on conservation matters and for sound project specific decision making related to heritage places.