ICOMOS coordinates new global initiative to safeguard heritage from climate change
ICOMOS announced today a new global initiative to safeguard sites of cultural significance from the impacts of climate change.
Preserving Legacies : A Future for our Past will equip communities worldwide with the tools to accurately assess worsening and future climate impacts on cultural heritage sites in order to rescue them before it is too late.
ICOMOS is partnering with National Geographic Society and the Climate Heritage Network, as well as with local communities and site management teams to carry out the Manulife-funded project.
People and their cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, are increasingly vulnerable to climate change hazards. The resulting impacts on monuments, inherited traditions, and knowledge systems in turn affects values, livelihoods, and identity, with profound consequences for communities. And yet cultural heritage is rarely prioritised in national and international climate change policy agendas. To fill this gap, there is an urgent need to equip communities worldwide with the tools to accurately anticipate and assess worsening and future climate impacts on culture, and help them turn that scientific knowledge into action to safeguard sites.
Preserving Legacies : A Future for our Past is carrying out the project on 10 heritage sites, including 2 primary sites:
- the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, Philippines;
- Petra, Jordan;
and 8 observer sites:
- Angkor Archeological Park, Cambodia;
- Border Fields, USA ;
- Historical Mosque City of Bagerhat, Bangladesh;
- Nan Madol, Micronesia;
- Levuka, Fiji;
- Koutammakou, the Land of the Batammariba, Togo and Benin;
- Sceilg Mhichil, Ireland;
- Port, Fortress, and Group of Monuments at Cartagena, Colombia.
At the 2 primary sites, Preserving Legacies will link climate science and site conservation by enabling access to locally downscaled climate change models, and supporting site custodians with the training to organise community-led, values-based assessments of the sites’ climate vulnerability as well as impacts on local communities.
Observer sites will engage fully in climate heritage trainings and a peer-to-peer learning experience.
Participants from all sites will help grow an international community of practice focused on climate action at the intersections of cultural heritage and climate adaptation.
The program integrates scientific, local, and Indigenous knowledge to find sustainable and culturally appropriate solutions to the long-term preservation of cultural heritage sites. The goal is to foster better approaches to adaptation and learning from past ancestral practices to safeguard values for the next generations.
Download and read the press release
ICOMOS Climate Action Working Group
National Geographic Preserving Legacies Press Release