Cultural heritage, a driver of action towards resilience
Today, climate change has become one of the most significant and fastest growing threats to people and their cultural heritage worldwide (ICOMOS, 19GA 2017/30). Unequivocal scientific evidence shows that unprecedented concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs), driven by human activities such as burning of fossil fuels and deforestation, are contributing to climate changes including warming of the oceans and atmosphere, sea level rise and diminished snow and ice. The impacts of these changes are already damaging infrastructure, ecosystems, and social systems – including cultural heritage – that provide essential benefits and quality of life to communities.
Cultural heritage offers immense and virtually untapped potential to drive climate action and support ethical and equitable transitions by communities towards low carbon, climate resilient development pathways. Realizing that potential, however, requires both better recognition of the cultural dimensions of climate change and adjusting the aims and methodologies of heritage practice.
Putting forward a multi-disciplinary approach to cultural heritage, the report is intended for site managers, scientists, researchers, but also to climate activists and policy-makers.
Heritage and Climate Change Outline prepared by: Climate Change and Heritage Working Group of ICOMOS