Archaeology and Economic Development 2012

Cultural Heritage Management and Economic Development Programmes: perspectives from desert fringes where IGOs and NGOs have no Locus

The range of organisations represented in this conference – and in the publication – stand in proxy for an equally wide range of concerns and viewpoints. While these concerns and viewpoints often differ considerably in detail, we might - with some risk of over simplification – suggest that the fundamental concerns are with ensuring that an appropriate kind and degree of cultural heritage work occurs within development contexts. Furthermore, the last 20 years have seen such progress in the underlying principles of economic development (in ‘developed’ or ‘developing’ world countries) that the notion of heritage and economic development as equally necessary in order for a sustainable future is shared by all the major participants. We explicitly include the ‘developers’ whether it be mineral extraction, infrastructure construction, urbanisation quangos and so on – our experience is that these entities are rarely opposed to undertaking heritage work, although they desperately want clear guidance on what this work is supposed to entail. So why the plethora of organisations on the heritage side of the equation? The IMF and the ‘development banks’ represent the ‘carrot’ approach – leading development into ethical compliance by offering financial incentives or support, while other organisations are effectively ‘sticks’ trying to beat organisations into compliance. Both have a valuable role, but our experiences in the very differing desert fringes of Senegal and Mongolia suggest to us that neither alone, nor the two in concert, are truly effective, and that the role of individuals and organisations acting with professional and ethical responsibility have a pivotal role to play in sustainable economic development.

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