The UNESCO Chair on Preventive Conservation, Monitoring and Maintenance of Monuments and Sites (PRECOM3OS) was inaugurated in March 2009 at the Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation at the KU Leuven (BE). The chair has been set-up in collaboration with Monumentenwacht Vlaanderen (BE), a non-governmental organisation which holds key information on preventive conservation practice for built heritage in Flanders, and with the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Cuenca in Ecuador.
At the occasion of the inauguration, a state of affairs on preventive conservation and heritage management practices within an international context was presented. It built on existing collaboration between the partnering organisations and on previous collaboration within the European project “Seminars on PREventive COnservation and Monitoring of the Architectural Heritage” (SPRECOMAH, 2007-2008) and the subsequent PRECOM³OS-workshop supported by UNESCO. In 2012 a thematic seminar was organized by the Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation to launch the prolongation of the PRECOM³OS UNESCO Chair until 2016. During this occasion updates on the insights on the state of affairs were shared. The international World Heritage perspective was presented in relation to the wider development potential of heritage preservation strategies based on preventive conservation. In addition, advanced tools that help its implementation, for example the preparation of appropriate documentation, the use of GIS and technology developments were discussed. It was observed that breakthrough insights on the interaction between preventive conservation concepts and local and regional sustainable development are widening the debate towards a possible shift of the paradigms in which built heritage care is operating today.
This publication collects the key contributions of both events and analyses them with the purpose to identify awakening trends that were observed within the activities of the PRECOM³OS UNESCO Chair. It aims at promoting further international collaboration and the development of research activities which are necessary in the field of preventive conservation of monuments and sites.