In June 2002, the GCI and the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile hosted a reunion of the Emergency Plans working group of the Latin American Consortium (see Conservation, vol.15, no.2). The goal of the Consortium is to enhance preventive conservation by strengthening the existing capabilities of member institutions in designing and implementing training in this area.
The June meeting was a follow-up to a June 2000 workshop—coorganized by the GCI—entitled "Future Instructors in Emergency Plans," held in Santiago, Chile, as part of the Emergency Plans working group. At that workshop, 24 participants representing five Consortium member countries—Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Cuba—received training in the emergency planning process, in the use of didactic materials, and in interactive teaching methodologies. At the conclusion of the workshop, members agreed to continue working collaboratively to develop and share didactic materials and to implement training and advocacy activities in their respective institutions, regions, and countries.
The main objectives of the four-day June 2002 meeting were to allow members to present work undertaken since the 2000 meeting, to discuss challenges to their work and the solutions developed to overcome them, to present and review didactic materials, and to set in place measures to support the group's work in the long term.
In the two years since the initial workshop, group members have undertaken a number of emergency planning initiatives. These include local activities such as implementing the emergency plans process in cultural institutions; establishing links with important public-sector resources such as fire departments; and incorporating emergency preparedness activities, including field exercises, into preventive conservation training programs. At a regional and national level, members' activities include courses for cultural heritage professionals, articles and conference presentations on emergency plans, production of safety brochures, collaborative efforts to include cultural heritage buildings in national fire safety legislation, and implementation of an emergency plan process for the wooden churches of Chiloé, Chile. Sixteen of the Chiloé churches are on the World Heritage List.
To promote the continuation of the Emergency Plans working group, coordination of the group was transferred from the GCI to the Facultad de Restauración de Bienes Muebles, Universidad Externado de Colombia, Bogotá. The GCI will remain an active member of the Latin American Consortium and the Emergency Plans working group.