Cultural Rights and Climate Change | Contribution to the UN Special Rapporteur Report
Karima Bennoune, United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, recently addressed a call for inputs for a report on “Cultural Rights and Climate Change” to be presented at the United Nations General Assembly in October 2020. The Special Rapporteur believes it is critical to think more broadly about the relationship between culture and cultural rights on the one hand, and addressing climate change on the other.
The report will address both the threats posed by climate change to culture, heritage and the cultural rights guaranteed by international law, including the right to take part in cultural life without discrimination, the rights to artistic and scientific freedom, the right to enjoy and access cultural heritage, as well as the positive potential of culture, heritage, and traditional knowledge, and the enjoyment of cultural rights, to help avoid catastrophic climate change and to adapt to the changes already in motion.
As the Special Rapporteur wrote in her letter inviting all stakeholders to take part, “...cultural resources, such as heritage, traditional knowledge, creativity and scientific freedom, can represent powerful resources for preventing and addressing challenges caused by climate change in a human rights respecting manner. In other words, culture and cultural rights are not only potential casualties; they are also part of the response, part of the solution.”
We are pleased to share ICOMOS’s submission to the call, which was prepared jointly by 3 ICOMOS Working Groups: the Climate Change and Heritage Working Group (CCHWG), the Our Common Dignity Initiative – Rights Based Approaches Working Group (OCDI-RBA WG), and the Sustainable Development Working Group (SDGWG).
See also ICOMOS's work on:
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