The Preserving Legacies Project: Year One Review and Call for New Partners/Sites

Preserving Legacies Workshop, JordanClimate change is a global problem which requires a global response. At the end of every year, governments from around the world meet at the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (or COP) to agree targets and work together for climate action. Increasingly, these conversations are acknowledging the importance of cultural heritage, reflecting the longstanding ICOMOS belief that culture is integral to meaningful and human-centred climate action. This belief lies at the heart of an exciting new ICOMOS-based project which is bringing together heritage professionals from around the world to share experiences and work together for long-term, sustainable change.


Launched in early 2023, the Preserving Legacies Project is a collaboration between ICOMOS and the National Geographic Society. It aims to empower every community to safeguard their cultural and natural heritage against climate change impacts. Led by National Geographic Explorer Dr Victoria Herrmann and with a team including Dr William Megarry (ICOMOS Climate Action Working Group) and Mr Andrew Potts (Climate Heritage Network), the project is hosted by the ICOMOS International Secretariat and is working closely with ICOMOS National and International Scientific Committees including Bangladesh, Ireland, Jordan, the Philippines, Tunisia and USA.
Utilising the scientific expertise of the ICOMOS community, the project has been developing training resources for climate action and applying these at partner led and community focused workshops at World Heritage properties in Jordan and the Philippines.

Preserving Legacies project partners from ICOMOS Philippines, ICOMOS Ireland, ICOMOS Tunisia and the US ICOMOS, with NationalGeographic representatives at the Climate Risk and Resilience at the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras workshop in Banaue, Philippines, in October 2023  (Photo: Mykee Vhon Beleran)

The project builds on previous efforts to develop tools and methodologies for climate action as first proposed in the 2019 ICOMOS Climate Action Working Group report,Future of Our Pasts: Engaging Cultural Heritage in Climate Action. Over the coming years, the Preserving Legacies project will be producing and providing guidance and training resources for all cultural heritage professionals. Alongside other ICOMOS  actions, it also seeks to realise the ambition of the 2021 - 2024 ICOMOS Triennial Scientific Plan to equip and prepare the ICOMOS community to meaningfully engage in sustainable climate action.

Délie Ronsin Quechon from the ICOMOS Secretariat and Will Megarry (ICOMOS Climate Action Working Group and ICOMOS Ireland) at the Petra Climate Risk Workshop in Wadi Musa, Jordan, in June 2023 (Photo: Michael O. Snyder)

Project director and National Geographic Explorer Dr Victoria Herrmann explains,

Oftentimes, the narrative of cultural heritage when discussed in the climate change space is a story of damaged monuments and disappearing traditions. But the future cultural heritage in a climate changed world does not have to be a story of losing the places that make us who we are. By partnering with ICOMOS and co-creating solutions with communities on every continent, together we are choosing to build a hopeful future and change the story to be about saving our cultures, traditions, and histories on a rapidly warming planet’.

Marie-Laure Lavenir, Director General of ICOMOS who are the primary partner and host of the Preserving Legacies Project, commented,

'I am delighted that ICOMOS is able to lend its expertise and support to PL, a highly inspiring project led by a team for whom I have the utmost respect'.

Preserving Legacies Workshop, San Diego

Project team members from US ICOMOS, ICOMOS Jordan, ICOMOS Ireland, ICOMOS Philippines and ICOMOS Tunisia at the Tijuana Estuary project site on the border between the United States and Mexico. With staff of California State Parks and the California State Office of Historic Preservation (Photo: Michael O. Snyder)

Call for new partners

The Preserving Legacies project has just been awarded funding for a further year and plans to further support existing partners to develop climate action plans and to expand its efforts to include new sites.
A call for new sites has just been released to ICOMOS National Committees and International Scientific Committees. This can be accessed here.

Questions can be sent, either to the ICOMOS Focal Point for Climate Change Dr Will Megarry or to the project director Dr Victoria Herrmann.
For more information or to stay updated, visit the project website.

Application deadline: 30 January 2024

The Preserving Legacies project is enabled through support from The National Geographic Society and Manulife.

See more

Launch of the Preserving Legacies project

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