The 17th International Conference of National Trusts took place between September 11 and September 15, 2017, in Gianyar, a regency in the Indonesian province and island of Bali. The conference was jointly hosted by the Indonesian Heritage Trust/ Badan Pelestarian Pusaka Indonesia (BPPI), the International National Trusts Organisation (INTO) and the Gianyar Regency.

The conference brought together 200 delegates from 31 countries representing the global heritage community, and the conference tagline was “Our Cultural Heritage, the Key to Environmental Sustainability“. The individual conference sessions would always focus on a specific topic, such as cultural tourism, intangible cultural heritage, the significance of local traditions and customs, the mechanisms of cooperation between the individual members and INTO as a whole or for example the different strategies for expanding audience size.

The heritage conservation movement has undergone a significant transformation over the past few years, mainly in the sense that it now involves the target audience, local communities and society as a whole in its processes instead of being a closed and separate movement, as has been the case in the past. These days, whole communities often get involved in heritage conservation activities whenever the local heritage is in danger. Part of the conference seminars also focused on the impact of climate change in relation to heritage conservation: general strategies for preserving both tangible and intangible heritage mainly in the areas which are directly impacted by climate change have been drawn. An entire section of the conference was also dedicated to the topics of fundraising, management, working with volunteers and to the process of preparing successful business plans which would ensure a sustainable and long-term operation of the given NGOs as a result. CNT delegate, Dr.Irena Edwards, has presented the CNT and its projects as part of this conference section. Dr. Edwards has also been elected the Trustee/INTO Director for the next term.

Apart from the conference sessions, the delegates also had the opportunity to attend multiple cultural events and shows, courtesy of the Indonesian Heritage Trust and the Regent of Gianyar, which have all been absolutely fantastic. These were for example a festive kiting event, releasing baby sea turtles or planting trees in a new protected botanical area. A festive parade in the streets of the city was also a part of the agenda, as well as dancing performances, an evening event at the Royal Palace, an opera starring live elephants, a festive ceremony at the local temple or plating rice at an exemplary sustainable and eco-friendly farm, all providing the delegates with unforgettable and lifetime memories.