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ICOFORT Official Bylaws

Final Update: August 31, 2019  per ICAFLI July 25, 2019 recommendations 

1 Establishment

The International Scientific Committee on Fortifications and Military Heritage (hereafter referred to as ICOFORT) is established in accordance with:

The ICOMOS Statutes adopted at the 19th General Assembly in New Delhi, in December 2017; the Ethical Principles adopted in Florence, November 2014; the Rules of Procedure of the ICOMOS adopted pursuant to the ICOMOS Statutes; the Eger Xi'an Principles 2008; the Malta Guidelines for ISCs 2009; and the Dubrovnik Valetta Principles 2010.

These By-Laws are consistent in their definitions, aims activities and actions with those of ICOMOS as expressed in Articles 3 and 4 of the ICOMOS Statutes.


2 Aims

2.1       The ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on ICOFORT researches and promotes the understanding, protection, conservation, exposing and management of historic fortifications and military heritage (including; tangible and intangible, historical, architectural, artistic and scientific values) which includes:

i           Structures, built or used for military and defensive purposes (including field fortifications, earthworks, fortified towns, naval ports, navigation marks and dredging, military bases, different kind of military accommodation buildings, works of military engineering and other enclaves and constructions);

ii          Landscapes and water areas for mainly military purposes (including testing fields, territorial, coastal and naval defense structures and battlefields, naval routes and other sets of cultural and natural heritage);

iii          Commemorative monuments and military memorabilia (including war memorials, military decorations, trophies, cemeteries, war graves and cenotaphs, and other plaques or markers);

iiii         Intangible heritage connected to all these areas of built military heritage.


3 Functions

3.1       The Committee shall: 

a)   Provide a platform for exchange of ideas and dissemination of information on ICOFORT;

b)    Provide technical advice on historic fortifications and military heritage;

c)     Prepare or study doctrinal texts where appropriate and inform the International Secretariat where a text is being prepared;

d)    Approve and perform each Triennial Work Plan, under By-Law 5(8)(i);

e)    Form sub-committees, task forces and / or working groups whenever necessary to perform certain tasks which will enable ICOFORT to fulfil its objectives;

f)      Try as far as reasonably possible to make technological provision for members to participate remotely in proceedings where it is not possible for them to attend in person;

3.2       The Committee may: 

a)    May prepare and submit nominations for Honorary Membership prior to a General Assembly in the appropriate format and in the requisite timescale;

b)    Become involved in the preparation of Resolution(s) in advance of a General Assembly in conjunction with other ISC’s.


4 Activities

4.1       The Committee shall engage in the following activities: 

a)    Research on Fortifications and Military Heritage;

b)    Promotion of Fortifications and Military Heritage;

c)    Encouragement of Knowledge and understanding of Fortifications and Military Heritage;

d)    Fostering awareness-raising, appreciation and interpretation of Fortifications and Military Heritage;

e)    Supporting capacity building about Fortifications and Military Heritage;

f)      Addressing the needs of new Associate Members and Emerging Professionals in developing their specialization and competence in Fortifications and Military Heritage.


4.2       These aims shall be included and detailed in the ISC Triennial Work Plan which the Committee shall prepare to coincide with each triennial General Assembly of ICOMOS.



5 Membership

5.1       ICOFORT shall be composed of Expert Members and Associate Members. ICOFORT shall seek to reflect, in its membership and Bureau, regional and cultural diversity in the available expertise in the field of conservation of historic fortifications and military heritage.

5.2       ICOFORT may, if it wishes, (but is not obliged to) appoint Institutional Members.

5.3       ICOFORT may, if it wishes, (but is not obliged to) appoint Honorary Members.

5.4       ICOFORT may, if it wishes, following a decision of the majority of the Expert Members, invite a non-ICOMOS Member, who can make a significant contribution to the meetings and activities of the ICOFORT, to participate in its activities. Invited members will be encouraged to apply for ICOMOS membership and will be accorded no voting rights.

5.5       Applications relating to all categories of membership must be sent to ICOFORT with a copy for information to the applicant’s National Committee, or where none exists to the International Secretariat.

5.6       ICOFORT shall adopt minimum Criteria for Admission and a transparent and well understood methodology for assessing and verifying individual competencies and expertise of applicants. ICOFORT Bureau will established a Membership Working Group composed by 5 Expert Members all from different countries and different disciplines would be responsible for preliminary evaluation of each application and produce a recommendation to be submitted to Bureau. An official certification will be provided to the application on the ICOFORT’s decision.

5.7       In the event of an application for membership being refused by ICOFORT an applicant shall have a right of appeal to the ICOMOS Board (Article 14(b) ICOMOS Statutes).

5.8       The rights and duties of Members shall be as follows:


(1) Expert Members

a)  ICOMOS Members experienced and engaged in the areas relevant to the objectives 

of ICOFORT may apply for Expert Membership, either upon personal application or by proposal of the NC to which they belong;

b)    Expert Members shall be accepted based on their individual profile, in particular their knowledge of and / or associations with historic fortifications and military heritage; all Expert Members must be members of ICOMOS and may remain members so long as they are ICOMOS members and meet the ISC's criteria for participation;

c)    Expert Members have the right to participate in any aspect of the work of the Committee;

d)    Each National Committee should designate one Expert Member as its voting member. The representative of an Institutional Member may not be designated by a NC as a voting member;

e)    Only the individual Expert Members designated by NCs as voting members, may vote at elections of the ICOFORT’s Bureau or concerning the amendment of its By-Laws;

f)      When voting on any issues and decisions, other than the election of the Bureau or amendment of ICOFORT’s By-Laws, all Expert Members, shall have a vote. 


(2) Associate Members

a)    ICOMOS Members interested in gaining knowledge and building up expertise in areas relevant to the objectives of ICOFORT may apply for Associate Membership, either upon personal application or proposal by the NC to which they belong; 

b)    Associate Members shall be accepted in unlimited number. They are conditionally accepted for a period of three years, after which time their contribution to ICOFORT will be evaluated in a transparent manner;

The Associate Membership shall then be: 

1.    Extended for another similar period of time, with a maximum of two such triennial extensions, or

2.    Upgrade to Expert Membership, or

3.    Rejected on the basis of non-participation or unsatisfactory performance;

c)    The Committee will strive to incorporate Associate Members participation in its work;

d)    Associate Members do not have voting rights;

e)    When appropriate an ISC may ask a NC to designate one or more Associate Members to help build up particular expertise in countries where such a need exists;

f)      ICOFORT may grant Non-ICOMOS Associate Member status to persons who can make an important contribution to ICOFORT, when they are not members of ICOMOS.  Non-ICOMOS Associate Members may participate in the meetings and activities of ICOFORT, they will not have voting rights.

(3) Institutional Members: 

a)    When in the interests of ICOMOS and of ICOFORT, and at ICOFORT discretion, the category of Institutional Membership may be established;

b)    The Expert Members of ICOFORT, may opt to invite an Institution to become an Institutional Member of ICOFORT for one triennium, and the membership may be renewed indefinitely for additional three-year periods;

c)     An Institutional Member may designate from its staff one person with the required qualifications to be its representative and spokesperson in ICOFORT;

d)    Institutional Members do not have voting rights.

(4) Honorary Members

a)    Honorary Members may be elected by the Expert Members of ICOFORT and may participate in all activities of ICOFORT;

b)    They need not be members of ICOMOS and are appointed in recognition of the services and / or in recognition of outstanding achievement in the field covered by the aims and activities of ICOFORT;

c)     Honorary members who are not Expert Members have no voting rights;

d)    Honorary members may use the title: “Honorary Member of ICOFORT”.


6 The Bureau

(1)   The Bureau shall be elected by the Expert Members with voting rights and shall comprise: a President; a Secretary General, three Vice Presidents. Only Expert Members can be elected to the Bureau. Members of the Bureau may adhere to the responsibilities and task per described as:

i)          President; represents ICOFORT with respect to ICOMOS and all international authorities with respect to ICOMOS and all international authorities with which ICOFORT has relations, directs the activities of ICOFORT in accordance with the rules defined in the Bylaws, in the case the absence of the President, is to be replaced temporary by the Secretary General. In case the Secretary General not available, the temporary replacement for President will be by one of the Vice-President, to be selected by internal voting to take place within the ICOFORT Bureau Members;

ii)         Secretary General; the Secretary General shall assist the President in the management of ICOFORT and its external and internal relations, following ICOFORT’s Bureau guidelines and maintaining constant and close communication with the ICOFORT’s Bureau is responsible for: the Secretariat for and during ICOFORT sessions, the preparation of the agenda in co-operation with the President, the invitation of the Members, the preparation of draft minutes of meetings. The Secretary General is also responsible for the historical files of ICOFORT, and for the effective communication of ICOFORT matters. In case the President unable to continue his role for any reason, the Secretary General will temporary assume the position of President until next general elections are to be held;

iii)        Vice-Presidents; the Vice-Presidents (up to three) following ICOFORT’s Bureau guidelines and maintaining constant and close communication with the ICOFORT’s Bureau have to co-operate in all ICOFORT decisions, assist the President and Secretary General in the management of ICOFORT and its external and internal relations, must belong from different countries than the President and Secretary General.

(2)   Members of the Bureau should represent different countries and key regions wherever possible. 

(3)   The role and responsibilities of each Bureau member will be specified and agreed upon by the Bureau, which as a whole shall lead and guide the work of ICOFORT, ensure good governance, represent ICOFORT within ICOMOS and outside, while acting in the best interests of and maintaining regular contact with its membership.

(4)   The term of office for the Bureau shall be three years and members shall be eligible for re-election for a maximum of two more consecutive terms.

(5)   The Bureau shall be elected at the end of each three-year mandate. Prior elections can be undertaken in cases of resignation. Members shall serve on the Bureau no more than three consecutive terms. 

(6)   Elections shall be conducted by Expert Members, appointed by their NCs as voting members, through secret ballot, at an annual meeting with provision for proxies, or by postal and electronic means. If an election is held by postal and / or electronic means, votes should be collected by an independent third party agreed upon by all candidates. If no agreement on an independent third party can be reached, the officers of the Scientific Council shall be asked to collect the votes. Elections for officers shall be verifiable.

(7)   If no candidates are nominated for election of a post, Expert Members appointed by their NCs as voting members, shall meet in closed session, either in presence or via electronic conferencing, to encourage the nomination of candidates. Such meetings shall be repeated every 10 days until nominations have been declared for all offices.

(8) The Bureau of ICOFORT shall:

a)    Register Members to the Committee;

b)    Register Expert Voting Members nominated by NCs to ICOFORT;

c)     At its discretion withdraw the membership of any Expert or Associate Member if s/he has been found not to have complied with the criteria for participation in relation to the work of ICOFORT as set out by these By-Laws; should the Bureau wish to withdraw the membership of any Expert Member, or Associate Member, the Bureau must inform the NC or Transnational Committee of that Member (or the Bureau of ICOMOS if this ICOMOS member is from a country where there is no NC);

d)    Any member of an ISC affected by the ruling of the Bureau or by a ruling of a NC may make a full appeal to the Board of ICOMOS;

e)    Convene ICOFORT meetings in designated locations or via conference calls or other technologies;

f)      Implement ICOFORT decisions;

g)    Prepare ICOFORT's Draft Guidelines for communication, election and reporting for approval by ICOFORT;

h)    Prepare an Annual Report to be submitted to ICOFORT Members and to the Scientific Council of ICOMOS for their consideration and approval. The Scientific Council will advise ISCs of the required format and content of the annual report;

i)      Prepare a triennial work plan, including aims and objectives;

j)      The Bureau of ICOFORT shall at least one Bureau member must be subscribed to the Scientific Council’s listserv;

k)     The Bureau shall provide the Scientific Council with any additional data or information requested by them, so as to enable them to carry out their annual performance review effectively;

l)      The Bureau shall provide the Scientific Council with information concerning any involvement ICOFORT may have in World Heritage Nominations, as well as identifying individual members involved in such work;

m)   The Bureau may receive advice and guidance from the Scientific Council;

n)    The Bureau shall ensure that duties of maintaining the archival record and institutional memory of ICOFORT are allocated appropriately and that appropriate information is disseminated to all members of ICOFORT;

o)    The Bureau shall make provision for a website for ICOFORT and if necessary, a List-Serve.

(9)       Regional Sub-Committees Coordinators   

Designated up to six Regional Sub-Committees Coordinators as appointed by the Bureau, in accordance to regions: Africa, Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, North America (USA and Canada), Latin America and the Caribbean Regions.

Regional Subcommittee Coordinators must follow the guidelines of the ICOFORT Bureau and maintain constant and close communication with the ICOFORT Bureau.

The main responsibilities of ICOFORT Regional Sub-Committees Coordinators is:

  • to assist on the recruitment of new members among the regions,

  • to spread the voice regarding what ICOFORT is and what is its mission, based on the Triennial Plan as indicated by ICOFORT Bureau

  • implementation of ICOFORT’s decisions and Triennial Work Plan

  • implementation of ICOFORT’s operations under the valid principles and ethical Statements adopted and applied by ICOMOS for the operation of its ISCs.

The Bureau will send out to all members including Experts and Associate including Emerging Professionals per each ICOFORT Regional Sub-Committee Coordinator vacancy when the need.

The Bureau will evaluate all candidate’s application submission and make a final selection.

The ICOFORT Regional Sub-Committee Coordinator must be a permanent resident from the region they are applying for. Only official members of ICOMOS in good standing will be considered for selections as ICOFORT Regional Sub-Committee Coordinators.

Selected Candidates must maintain their membership in good standing during the full 3 years term of the position. The position is open to all ICOFORT members (voting and non-voting members) as long they are in current status as members of ICOMOS and with good membership status.

In case of the election of a non-voting member as an ICOFORT Regional Sub-Committee Coordinator, his or her voting status will remain the same.

Being selected as an ICOFORT Regional Sub-Committee Coordinator will not grant rights as a voting member. Applicants are expected to be able to effectively communicate in English in addition to their native language;


7 Emerging Professionals

7.1       An Emerging Professional means an individual member of ICOMOS who is a student or is at an early stage of his/her professional career. 

7.2       Emerging Professional are recognized within ICOMOS to maintain scientific relevance for future generations and to secure intergenerational engagement to secure the organization's continuity;

7.3       An Emerging Professional may be an Expert Member or an Associate Member and, in this regard, shall have the same rights and obligations that accorded to each of those types of membership;

7.4       The Committee shall encourage Emerging Professional to join its work, introduce mentorship programs, and strive towards achieving a 20% composition of Emerging Professional Members within the Committee.  At least one Emerging Professional shall be invited to join the Bureau of the Committee as an observer without voting rights. 

7.5       When appropriate an ISC may ask a NC to designate one or more Emerging Professionals to help build up the particular expertise in countries where such a need exists.

7.6       A member identified by the Committee as an Emerging Professional shall cease to be regarded in this category after a period of five years.


8 Criteria for participation

8.1       ICOFORT shall adopt minimum criteria for participation as a means of gauging levels of engagement by Expert and Affiliated Members;

8.2       Active participation shall mean attendance at ICOFORT meetings and symposia, submission of papers or responses to questionnaires in lieu of personal attendance at symposia, undertaking projects on behalf of ICOFORT at the request of the Bureau, representing ICOFORT in an official capacity before other bodies, or making substantial contributions to the work of a subcommittee or task group of ICOFORT;

8.3       Should an Expert or Affiliate Member not attend three consecutive annual meetings of ICOFORT and its symposia without due cause, and over the same period not demonstrate active participation, the Bureau may decide to withdraw the membership of the Expert or Affiliate Member.


9 Triennial Reviews of the work of International Scientific Committees

9.1       ICOFORT and its Bureau shall assist the Triennial Review of its work by the appointees of the Scientific Council under the Eger Xi'an Principles and the Malta Guidelines, including provision of additional data or interim reports to allow the review to be carried out effectively;

9.2       ICOFORT must implement any necessary measures based on recommendations of the Triennial Review, if agreed by the Scientific Council, the Advisory Committee or the Board of ICOMOS, or show good reason why this should not be done;

9.3       Cases of persistent non-compliance by ICOFORT in the Triennial Review Process may be referred to the Board of ICOMOS by the Scientific Council or the Advisory Committee for corrective action as it is only for the Board of ICOMOS to decide whether to endorse the activities of or to dissolve an ISC.


10 Co-operation with other bodies

In pursuance of its aims, ICOFORT will co-operate with ISCs and NCs of ICOMOS and ICOMOS partner organizations and international bodies aiming at achieving what is stipulated in the aims and activities of ICOFORT. In this regard, such partnership arrangements will require the approval of the majority of the Expert Members.


11 Meetings

11.1     ICOFORT shall meet as often as is necessary to conduct its business and must meet at least once a year for its scientific and administrative agenda. It may hold a maximum of two (2) Extraordinary General Meetings should the need arise.

11.2     If ICOFORT meets more than once in any year it must designate one of those meetings as its Annual General Meeting. Meetings are either in a designated location or – following a decision by its membership – organized as conference calls or via other technological means.

11.3     In these meetings, members may vote in accordance with clauses 4.8 (1) (e) and 4.8 (1) (f) of these By-Laws. All decisions are decided by a simple majority unless specified otherwise in these By-Laws. Electronic consultations leading to decisions may also be invoked and decisions made in such consultations shall be considered valid. Electronic votes of Expert Members in webcasts (or comparable technologies) shall be considered valid.

11.4     The minutes of meetings ICOFORT shall be signed by the President and put on record by the International Secretariat, as provided for in the ICOMOS Statutes.

11.5     ICOFORT shall address their annual activity report and their work programs for the next year to the International Secretariat, for opinion of the Advisory Committee and approval by the Board of ICOMOS, as provided for in the ICOMOS Statutes.


12 Finances

12.1       The activities of ICOFORT shall be financed by funds:

a)    allocated by ICOMOS from its annual budget;

b)    obtained by ICOFORT from international and national organizations including ICOMOS NCs;

c)     obtained by ICOFORT on its own initiative such as income from publications;

d)    from any other source provided by way of gift, bequest, donation or sponsorship;

The ISC may ask its members for voluntary contributions to its funds but such contributions shall not be a condition of membership.

12.2     Members of ICOFORT are generally expected to obtain the funds necessary to ensure their participation in its activities, in particular their presence at the meetings.

12.3     ICOFORT cannot open a bank account in its name.

12.4     ICOFORT cannot keep funds of the ISC in a personal account. A special account may be set up by the ICOMOS International Secretariat for this Committee as required.

12.5     Should ICOFORT have an association with a partner organization, its funds must be held either by ICOMOS or the partner organization.

12.6     ICOFORT will designate a contact person who may liaise with the ICOMOS Accountant at the International Secretariat if necessary;

a)    For incoming payments that designated contact person should inform the ICOMOS Accountant of a payment which is due so that it can be clearly identified and attributed to the ICOFORT account;

b)    For outgoing payments that designated contact person may send the International Secretariat the invoices that ICOFORT wishes to settle out of its funds or the bank details for electronic transfers together with information about the purpose of the payment;

c)    The ICOMOS Accountant may prepare the operation for signature by two from the following the ICOMOS Director General, one of the directors, and the ICOMOS Accountant;

d)    The International Secretariat will provide the designated contact person with detailed records on ICOFORT funds upon request;

e)    The annual ISC accounts will be listed in the Annual ICOMOS audited balance sheet;

f)      Should ICOFORT be dissolved, any assets or funds held in the ICOMOS accounts on its behalf may be attributed to the general ICOMOS budget.

12.7     The Treasurer or designated contact person shall draw up a budget and financial plan to be approved by ICOFORT and maintain an appropriate record of all financial transactions for the purpose of assisting the Accountant of ICOMOS in the preparation of the annual audited statement.


13 Accountability

13.1     ICOFORT cannot make any agreement or carry out an act that could create a legally binding obligation for ICOMOS without the authorization of the Bureau of ICOMOS.


13.2     ICOFORT shall not use the ICOMOS name in relation to its activities or agreements unless authorized by the Bureau of ICOMOS.


13.3     The use of the ICOFORT name and/or Logo is for activities only relevant to the objectives and mission of ICOFORT and is subject to prior approval by the Bureau in writing or by electronic means.

a)    The use of ICOFORT’s Logo, or to participate on any activity in official representation of ICOFORT, it requires prior request to the ICOFORT Bureau and approval granted by the ICOFORT Bureau;

b)    For the use of the ICOFORT’s Logo, name of ICOFORT or any member of ICOFORT participating on any activity involves the legal identity of ICOFORT, the member is required to submit a Request for Official Representation to the bureau through its Secretary General, no less than 30 days before the date the activity to begin;

c)    In case the member awareness on the activity is less than 30 days, the request has to be submitted same day of notification of knowledge of the event and explain the reason for the tardiness;

d)    The Request for Official Representation is to be submitted by Email and must include: Date(s) of activity, name of participant(s), name of any other organization(s) involved, description of activity(s), location of activity and purpose or mission of the activity;

e)    Only activities approved by the ICOFORT Bureau will be consider Official and will be authorized to use ICOFORT’s Logo and name. Only Official activities will be recognized by ICOFORT and included as part of ICOFORT Annual Report to ICOMOS;

f)      This applies to any type of ICOFORT official international or national events such as: conferences, publications, seminars, exhibits, scientific projects, meetings, reports (oral or written), public activities, media or audiovisual presentations (of any type), or any other action requiring the use of the name and / or logo of ICOFORT.


14 Language

ICOFORT will use English as working languages. Use of other languages will be encouraged.


15 Secretariat

The Secretariat of the ISC will be located at ICOMOS International, 11 rue du Séminaire de Conflans, 94220 Charenton-le-Pont, France.

16 Dispute Settlement

16.1     Any dispute arising out of the interpretation of these By-Laws shall be resolved by way of Referral to the ICOMOS Scientific Council. There will also be a right of Appeal to the board of ICOMOS from a decision of the Scientific Council.

16.2     The Referral shall be governed by the ICOMOS Statutes, Rules of Procedure, the Eger-Xi'an Principles, the Malta Guidelines and the Ethical Principles provided always that nothing in these By-Laws shall be interpreted in any way that might be inconsistent with the realization of the aims of ICOFORT.


17 Amendment

17.1     Amendment of these By-Laws shall be made by the voting of Expert Members designated by NCs as voting members at a Meeting with proxies, and / or by postal and electronic ballot. All substantive By-Law revisions shall be submitted through the Scientific Council for the approval of the Board of ICOMOS.

17.2     Any agenda item for amendment of these By-Laws, which is to be discussed and resolved by ICOFORT, shall be submitted to all Expert Members, to the Scientific Council and the Board of ICOMOS at least ninety (90) days before the date of its discussion.

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