Climate Action Working Group - Climate Justice and Equity Toolkit


Climate justice and equitiy lie at the heart of climate action and should be the foundation of our response in the heritage sector. This toolkit provides an overview of the topic alongside some best-practice examples and suggested actions and activities for ICOMOS National and Scientific Committees. These include ways to increase inclusivity and participation, promote meaningful co-production and be more sustainable.




Image2Heritage, Climate Justice and Equity Guide

This guide has been created by the Climate Action Working Group and is aimed at ICOMOS members, national and international scientific committees. Using case studies provided by the ICOMOS community, it addresses the topic of climate justice and equity under the following headings:
- What is the problem?
- Why does it matter?
- How can ICOMOS address climate injustice and inequity
- What can we do now?

It can be downloaded here in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.



Heritage, Climate Justice and Equity: Further Resources

Please note that resources have been included at the recommendation of ICOMOS members and National and International Scientific Committees, and do not necessarily reflect the views of either ICOMOS or the Working Group.

ICOMOS Statements and Resources

  • Joint resolution on People-Centred Approaches to Cultural Heritage
    Various ICOMOS Working Groups, National and International Scientific Committees
    Proposed by: The ICOMOS Climate Action working Group

    Available in: English, French

    This important document was drafted by over 20 Working groups, National and Scientific Committees resolved that People-Centred Approaches to Cultural Heritage were to be promoted so that the diverse cultural, environmental, and socio-economic concerns of people and communities are taken into account when local, national and international heritage policies and practices are developed.
  • ICOMOS Declaration on Cultural Heritage and the Climate Emergency
    ICOMOS Climate Change and Heritage Working Group
    Proposed by: The ICOMOS Climate Action working Group
    Available in: English, French

    The declaration also recognises the immense potential of cultural heritage to enable inclusive, transformative and just climate action. It calls on the ICOMOS community to work to realise this potential and to seek to safeguard all types of heritages from adverse climate impacts, implement risk-informed disaster responses, deliver climate resilient sustainable development; and recognise equity and justice as fundamental dimensions of climate action.
  • Future of our Pasts: Engaging Cultural Heritage in Climate Action
    ICOMOS Climate Change and Heritage Working Group
    Proposed by: The ICOMOS Climate Action Working Group
    Available in: English, French

    This important document has a dedicated section on Climate Justice and Equity and these themes appear regularly throughout the report, especially in sections focused on climate adaptation and mitigation.
  • Cultural Heritage and Climate Action ICOMOS Triennial Scientific Plan (TSP) 2021-2024
    Proposed by: ICOMOS Scientific Council
    Available in: English, French, Spanish.

    Reflecting on the 2019 ICOMOS Future of Our Pasts Report, the Scientific Council surveyed all ICOMOS Committees and Working groups about their own climate change related initiatives and identified areas where support, collaboration and direction were needed. The TSP is both a snapshot of current and proposed ICOMOS activities and an overview of key themes and action points, a roadmap for 2021-24 of future opportunities and directions for ICOMOS and its Committees.
  • ICOMOS Climate Change Working Group Contribution UN Special Report on Cultural Rights and Climate Change
    ICOMOS Climate Change and Heritage Working Group 
    Proposed by: The ICOMOS Climate Action Working Group

    Available in: English.

    In 2020, the ICOMOS Climate Change Working Group, in close cooperation with several other ICOMOS working groups, made contributions to the UN Special Report on Cultural Rights and Climate Change. Amongst other things, it called on organisations like ICOMOS to ‘Adopt a human rights-based global action plan to save the cultures of humanity and protect cultural rights from the climate emergency’ (Article 81).
  • Heritage and the Sustainable Development Goals: Policy Guidance for Heritage and Development Actors
    The Sustainable Development Goals Working Group
    Proposed by: The ICOMOS Sustainable Development Goals Working Group

    Available in: English.

    Building on doctrinal texts created by ICOMOS global membership, the Policy Guidance document draws upon scientific expertise of the ICOMOS SDGs Working Group and ICOMOS Scientific Committees from all five global regions and all areas of expertise, to illustrate the many ways in which heritage can address the SDGs and demonstrates the potential of harnessing heritage in achieving sustainable development.

Relevant ICOMOS Events and Workshops

  • First Online ICOMOS Scientific Symposium 2021: Living Heritage and Climate Change 
    ICOMOS Advisory Committee, ICOMOS OCD-RBA WG

    Available in: English, French and Spanish.

    ICOMOS Scientific Symposium "Living Heritage and Climate Change" 9.-10.11.2021 was the first symposium of ICOMOS of the series of annual Scientific Symposia that are part of the Triennial Scientific Plan (TSP) 2021-24 Climate Change Reboot focusing proposed ICOMOS meetings and Scientific Symposia on how climate change impacts on specific heritage places and issues. Living heritage provides people with a sense of identity and is continuously regenerating in response to their environment.  But we live in a time of rapid environmental change accelerated by the current climate crisis. Our responses to this crisis have the potential to strengthen our living heritage or destroy it.

  • Cultural Tourism and Community Resilience Workshop, ICOMOS Scientific Symposium 2021 “Living Heritage and Climate Change”
    ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Committee (ICTC)
    Proposed by: International Cultural Tourism Committee (ICTC)

    Available in: English, French and Spanish.

    The workshop specifically focused on potentials and challenges to participatory and polycentric (decentralised and/or distributed) governance in cultural tourism for community resilience, with a specific attention to the ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Charter 2021: Reinforcing cultural heritage protection and community resilience through responsible and sustainable tourism management.

  • Resilient Heritage | Dediščina, ki kljubuje
    ICOMOS Slovenia
    Proposed by: ICOMOS Slovenia

    Available in: English.

    In September 2021, the Slovenian National Committee organised an international symposium on the topic of resilient heritage including examples related to climate change. We believe that the symposium successfully brought together experts from different fields to share their experiences and opinions on this topic. I am providing links to the programme and the book of abstracts. A monographic publication of the symposium is planned for 2022.

  • Caring for Country
    ICOMOS Australia
    Proposed by: ICOMOS Australia

    Available in: English.

    This seminar series explored a range of themes of relevance to the subject of climate justice and equity, including Oceanic Wisdom for a Climate Change (Webinar 1), Climate Change Adaptation for Aboriginal Cultural Heritage (Webinar 2), and Burning Country: Aboriginal Fire Practice in Caring for Country (Webinar 3). Links for these webinars can be found at the above website.

  • ‘Ignite Pacific’ | Climate Change, Culture and Peace in the Pacific Region ICCROM Conference 2022
    ICCROM and ICOMOS Australia (Caring for Country Committee, ANZCOR, NSCES, CCHWG, ICOMOS Pasifika Project WG)
    Proposed by: ICOMOS Australia

    Available in: English.

    Short presentations from the Pacific region (Vanuatu, New Zealand and Australia) demonstrated how people, institutions and governments are preparing for and responding to loss or damage to culture and heritage from climate change. It considered a range of indigenous and non-indigenous responses based on traditional knowledge and practice, western scientific knowledge and innovative convergences of both.

General Resources on Climate Justice 

  • The Role of Culture in Climate Resilient Development
    Climate Heritage Network
    Proposed by: The Climate Heritage Network

    Available in: English.

    These resources were developed in the buildup to the 26th Conference of Parties in Glasgow and include examples from the wider ICOMOS community. They focus on the concept of Climate-Resilient Development Pathways and many include examples of relevance to the topic of climate justice and equity.

  • The Principles of Climate Justice
    The Mary Robinson Foundation
    Proposed by: Dr William Megarry, ICOMOS Focal Point for Climate Action

    Available in: English.

    These principles form the basis of the IPCC approach to climate equity and justice. Drafted in 2011, they are built on a foundation of international and human rights law and include subjects of relevance to the heritage community including respecting and protecting human rights, supporting the right to development, and equitable benefit and burden sharing.

  • The Jemez Principles
    Meeting hosted by Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice (SNEEJ), Jemez, New Mexico, Dec. 1996
    Proposed by: Dr Adam Markham, US ICOMOS and Union of Concerned Scientists

    Available in: English.

    These important principles address issues of power inequality between mainstream and often marginalised frontline communities, establishing a means of meaningful and equitable communication. Many well established environmental and climate justice organisations use the Jemez Principles as the basis for their work.

  • Heritage Is Ours – Citizens Participating in Decision Making
    Europa Nostra Finland
    Proposed by: The ICOMOS Climate Action Working Group

    Available in: English.

    The book can be seen as a dialogue between European heritage activists and specialists, it showcases inspiring practices and examples related to heritage participation from all around Europe.

  • EJAtlas - Global Atlas of Environmental Justice
    Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals1
    Proposed by: The ICOMOS Climate Action Working Group

    Available in: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Turkish.

    The EJ Atlas collects these stories of communities struggling for environmental justice from around the world. It aims to make these mobilisation more visible, highlight claims and testimonies and to make the case for true corporate and state accountability for the injustices inflicted through their activities

  • European Cultural Heritage Green Paper
    Europa Nostra 
    Proposed by: The ICOMOS Climate Action Working Group

    Available in: English, French, Spanish.

    Tackling climate change is this generation’s defining task and Europe’s rich and diverse cultural heritage can help. To help lead the way, in March 2021, heritage, climate and financial organisations and experts launched the European Cultural Heritage Green Paper “Putting Europe’s shared heritage at the heart of the European Green Deal”. The Paper correlates the contribution of cultural heritage to all key areas of the European Green Deal including Green Finance and a Just Transition.

  • Accomplices Not Allies
    Indigenous Action Media
    Proposed by: Andrew Potts from the Climate Heritage Network

    Available in: English.

    This provocation challenges the traditional concept of allyship, linking it to western, capitalist paradigms which align primarily to the needs of individual allies and institutions rather than those of indigenous communities. Instead, it promotes the need for accomplices who are willing to take more risk to ensure real change.

  • Preservation, Sustainability, and Equity
    Erica Avrami (Editor)
    Proposed by: Erica Avrami

    Available in: English.

    An edited volume focused on the intersection of heritage, climate, and justice. It examines historic preservation as an enterprise of ideas, methods, institutions, and practices that must reorient toward a new horizon, one in which equity and sustainability become critical guideposts for policy evolution.

  • Climate Heritage Network - Resources Library
    Climate Heritage Network
    Proposed by: Andrew Potts

    Available in: English.

    The immense potential of cultural heritage to drive climate action and support just transitions by communities towards low carbon, climate-resilient futures often goes untapped.  In December 2019 the newly formed Climate Heritage Network released its initial plan to mobilise arts, culture, and heritage for climate action at a side event held in Madrid at the 2019 UN Climate Conference known as COP25. Dubbed the Madrid-to-Glasgow Arts, Culture, and Heritage Climate Action Plan, its release kicked off two years of culture-based climate action that culminated at the 2021 UN Climate Conference, COP26, in Glasgow.  We’re thrilled to present this Climate Heritage Resource Library, a one-stop-shopping web site which collects the tools prepared as part of the Action Plan. Each of these resources is designed to help dismantle a different barrier to climate action by cultural actors and operators.  Discover how these resources can help you accelerate your climate action and to learn more about the CHN Working Groups that have created them. 

  • World Heritage Catalysis
    Proposed by: Cecilie Smith-Christensen
    Available in: English.

    An emerging commons oriented community of practice applying new and innovative technologies in tourism and visitor management for the protection of World Heritage and community resilience. Supporting implementation of the Visitor Management Assessment & Strategy Tool (VMAST) and incubating the World Heritage Exchange Trading System (WHETS). Contributing towards an emerging theory of change, it focuses on how to possibly and practically enhance climate justice.

  • Heritage at Risk: Case Studies of Climate Change Impacts
    Society for Historical Archaeology
    Proposed by: Adam Markham, Union of Concerned Scientists

    Available in: English.

    Archaeologists worldwide are concerned about climate change, both in impacts to heritage sites but also to the communities they serve. In 2017, the Society for Historical Archaeology formed the Heritage at Risk Committee (HARC) to promote research and outreach on this topic. This exhibit features case studies by archaeologists working in different communities to shine a light on the issue and look for sustainable solutions.

  • Heritage on the Edge: Discover how people around the world are using technology to protect their cultural sites against climate change
    ICOMOS, CyArk and Google Arts and Culture
    Proposed by: Will Megarry, ICOMOS Climate Action Working Group

    Available in: English, French, Spanish, Swahili and Bangla.

    The Heritage on the Edge project explored the impacts of and responses to climate change through the lens of five World Heritage properties in Bangladesh, Peru, Rapa Nui, Scotland and Tanzania. Using interviews with local stakeholders it explored topics including social justice and community resilience, while also exploring how sites have adapted to the impacts of climate change and become exemplars in mitigation.


1 Leah Temper, Daniela del Bene and Joan Martinez-Alier. 2015. Mapping the frontiers and front lines of global environmental justice: the EJAtlas. Journal of Political Ecology 22: 255-278.

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