Reflections on the Climate.Culture.Peace Conference

Following a week of interesting presentations, engaging discussions and inspiring performances, the closing session of Climate.Culture.Peace looked towards the future and outlined strategies that leverage heritage processes for fair and inclusive climate action.

Experts were invited to help identify key actors, stake- and right-holders, as well as sectors that need to come together for implementing such strategies. The session also featured a series of Ignite Talks, sharing inspiring examples of innovative research and initiatives to frame the discussion. The insights shared throughout this session were captured by an artist, Christopher Malapitan in real-time, helping to visualize culture-based pathways for lasting peace, disaster risk reduction and climate action.

Ignite Talks

From a case study in Turkey where traditional knowledge is helping to develop a sustainable and green city to youth action for waste management on Kenya’s beaches, the place-based examples shared during the Ignite Talks offered a glimpse of a liveable future.

  • Cooling Kemeraltı: Havra Street, Dr Ozden Coskun Oner
  • Walking as Embodied Research in Emergent Anthropocene Landscapes, Prof. Nick Shephard
  • The Establishment of a Sustainable Tourism Management System for Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Vallée de Mai, Ms Cheyenne Chang-Yunn
  • Integrating Community-Based Solid Waste Management in Preserving Lamu’s Heritage, Ms Maureen Mokeira Kombo

To invigorate research on heritage-based climate action, Professor Nick Shepherd, Aarhus University and Pretoria University, shared his idea of the walking seminar, an experiment in learning to flatten existing hierarchies, offering a level playing field for evidence-based research, involving all possible actors and stakeholders. He identified the role of the walking seminar as being able to

“transform the climate change emergency from something that we know abstractly in our minds to something that we feel urgently in our bodies and our beings.”

Expert Panel

With our minds opened to future possibilities, a panel of experts moderated by Ms Aparna Tandon, ICCROM, and Dr Marcy Rockman, Scientific Coordinator of Climate.Culture.Peace, was invited to identify strategies for scaling up heritage-based climate actions.

  • Hon. Mark Okraku Mantey, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Ghana
  • Ms Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, President Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad (AFPAT)
  • Dr Albino Jopela, Head of Programmes, African World Heritage Fund
  • Dr Zaki Aslan, Director, ICCROM Sharjah
  • Dr Diane L. Douglas, Founder and Director, Initiative for Sustainable Development in Africa
  • Dr Abhiyant Tiwari, Assistant Professor, Gujarat Institute of Disaster Management, India
  • Dr Erminia Sciacchitano, Multilateral Relations-Minister’s Cabinet, Ministry of Culture of Italy
  • Mr Joseph King, Director, Partnership and Communications, ICCROM
  • Dr June Taboroff, Senior Cultural Resource Specialist, independent consultant
  • Ms Stephanie Grant, Senior Programme Manager, Cultural Protection Fund British Council

Ms Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, the President of the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad, joined us as a part of the expert panel to share her critical work of participatory mapping, which combines traditional and ‘scientific’ knowledge, bridging the gap between what is happening on the ground and the decisions being made at an international level. She also crucially reminded us that while

indigenous peoples make up 5% of the population, they protect 80% of the world’s biodiversity.

Indigenous peoples are on the frontlines of climate change, and therefore they also hold many of the solutions.

Dr Erminia Sciacchitano, Advisor for Multilateral Relations for the Minister’s Cabinet, Ministry of Culture Italy, emphasized that it is crucial to dismantle barriers to climate-action for cultural actors and operators, as cultural heritage is part of critical infrastructure. Climate change needs to be tackled holistically, getting everyone around the table to share their visions for how we can all accelerate innovation.

To support an ecosystem of diverse  heritage-based climate action initiatives, Ms Stephanie Grant, the Senior Programme Manager for the Cultural Protection Fund of the British Council, thinks that funders need to have a more open mind to what research methods and outputs can look like, and have a greater appetite for risk that projects might not work as intended. In this regard, it is crucial to communicate effectively the benefits of heritage protection.

Visualizing Climate.Culture.Peace

Visual representation of the final reflections of the conference
Visual representation of the final reflections of the conference created by Christopher Malapitan, an independent creative facilitator and trainer based in Brussels.

As we continue to reflect on the presentations and discussions of the conference, we are pleased to announce that we will soon be sharing a Reflections document that captures the outcomes and outlines an action plan. We will also be publishing the case studies and multimedia submissions that were shared with us.

Sneak Peek at Upcoming Case Studies

Many of the case studies shared with us demonstrate how heritage can be an instrument for climate adaptation and mitigation.

One such case study describes the World Heritage site of the Mesopotamian marshes in southern Iraq, inhabited by societies that formed the world’s oldest civilizations. Not only does the author emphasize the long co-existence with the marsh surroundings by its inhabitants, but he also highlights that there is evidence the inhabitants constantly adapted to a changing environment. However, in the face of climate change and water scarcity, increased pressure on limited resources is likely to lead to more migration and competition for resources.

The Climate.Culture.Peace knowledge portal will remain an active hub for connecting for the coming two years. Please email if you would like to join the initiative.

This initiative is generously supported by the British Council’s Cultural Protection Fund (CPF) in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and seeks the participation from all CPF target countries.

Our upcoming capacity development initiative, Net Zero - Heritage for Climate Action, will build on the momentum of Climate.Culture.Peace.