View of Stonehenge from the North East at sunrise

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View of Stonehenge from the North East at sunrise © Historic England

International Advice Team

Historic England is the UK government's advisor on international conventions, regulations and directives, which have an effect on the historic environment.

Measures focused on heritage are usually introduced by organisations such as UNESCO and the Council of Europe. Other directives and regulations, such as those developed by the European Union, may have an effect on the historic environment.

The Historic England International Advice Team advises government on how best to meet the obligations that result from those measures to which the government is a signatory, has accepted or is required to implement.

The work of the team is evenly divided between European and wider international work. Much of the latter relates to World Heritage Sites inscribed by UNESCO under the provisions of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Property (the World Heritage Convention).

The team also advises on the heritage impacts of measures which are in development, with the aim of ensuring that they are beneficial.

Home countries and overseas territories

The heritage agencies and departments of the governments of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales can advise the UK government on the effect of international heritage obligations in those countries.

In addition to fulfilling this role in England, the Historic England International Advice Team works with the home countries' heritage organisations and can provide additional advice to the UK government, particularly in relation to European matters, where Historic England takes a lead role.

The team also works with the heritage agencies and governments of British Overseas Territories, particularly those with World Heritage Sites or properties nominated for this status.

International relations, research and sharing good practice

The International Advice Team is the focal point in Historic England for arranging inbound visits from overseas heritage and governmental delegations interested in sharing experience of heritage policy and practice.

The team also maintains an overview of outbound overseas engagement by Historic England staff involving research and sharing heritage knowledge and understanding. Historic England staff have expertise in a wide range of specialist areas (for example architectural conservation and digital survey) which is well respected internationally and often in demand.

While it is not always possible to respond to this demand, where potential projects and proposals for sharing good practice are in line with Historic England's Action Plan and International Work Priorities, we will engage with such initiatives where appropriate. This can include partnership projects involving UK and international organisations with funding drawn from external sources.

Working with others

There are a number of organisations in the UK that have a remit that involves international heritage.

In particular the Historic England International Advice Team works with the UK National Commission for UNESCO, World Heritage: UK and ICOMOS-UK to ensure effective joint working that plays to the strengths of the organisations involved and avoids duplication of effort.

In relation to natural World Heritage properties we liaise with the relevant natural environment agencies.

Training, capacity building and promotion

In partnership with others, the International Advice Team seeks to develop understanding of international measures that relate to the historic environment. It helps to build capacity, not only to meet obligations, but also to take advantage of the opportunities that many of these measures provide.

The team also works to promote the value of international heritage measures and the opportunities they afford to benefit UK citizens and visitors alike.

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