Climate and weather-related disasters surge five-fold over 50 years

- World Meteorological Organization (WMO) 

For the last two and a half years, ICCROM’s flagship programme, First Aid and Resilience for Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis (FAR), has been working to understand how climate change impacts cultural heritage and the role heritage can play in combatting the climate crisis, through knowledge-building and capacity-development initiatives, such as Climate.Culture.Peace and Net Zero: Heritage for Climate Action

A key finding of these projects is the need for specific assessment tools to evaluate climate risks to different types of heritage and understand their likely consequences. 

ICCROM’s FAR programme aims to meet this need by pioneering the development of a Comprehensive Tool on Climate Risk Management for Heritage.  

The Tool aims to guide heritage professionals in assessing how climate change makes heritage and people more vulnerable to disasters and conflicts. 

The initial section of the Tool will provide practical tips on gathering open-source climate data and cross-linking it with local data. It will guide users to address the challenge of limited hyperlocal data by incorporating people's perceptions and lived experiences to understand future climate implications in a specific location.

Based on insights gained from the ongoing Net Zero: Heritage for Climate Action project, the second part of the Tool will define ways local traditional knowledge – on managing resources, conserving the environment and coping with weather extremes – can be used to reduce climate-related disasters and conflict risks to heritage and people, and contribute to just climate action. 

In a significant step towards this goal, ICCROM-FAR organized two online collaborative workshops, bringing together experts from seven key agencies and over 50 heritage professionals working in climate risk assessment for cultural heritage and heritage safeguard in the face of aggravating climate-induced disasters and conflicts. 

The workshops focused on understanding existing methodologies and identifying gaps and challenges related to assessing compounded risks to heritage emerging from the intersection of climate change, conflicts, epidemics, unplanned developments and structural inequalities. 

Highlights from the Collaborative Expert Workshop 

ICCROM-FAR is Developing a Comprehensive Tool on Climate Risk Management for Heritage

The first expert workshop kicked off with an introduction to ICCROM-FAR's ongoing Net Zero project, which involves five innovation sites in Brazil, India, Sudan, Uganda and Egypt to develop and field-test integrated culture-based strategies for disaster risk reduction, peacebuilding and just climate action. Conceived with the generous support of the Swedish Postcode Foundation, the valuable insights derived from this first-of-its-kind capacity-development initiative will serve as a foundation for the creation of this Tool.  

The workshop featured presentations from a cohort of multidisciplinary experts, showcasing diverse tools and methodologies for climate risk assessment of cultural heritage:

Following the presentations, experts were engaged in a focus group discussion and mapping exercise to identify key knowledge gaps and challenges related to climate risk assessment for all types of heritage, which set the groundwork for the forthcoming Tool as well as fostered potential collaborations between ICCROM-FAR and participating institutions to safeguard cultural heritage and mainstream heritage-based climate action. 

Web Meeting inviting heritage practitioners

The second workshop included a follow-up web meeting on 13 November 2023, gathering over 50 heritage professionals working in museums, archives, libraries and heritage sites, plus those working with intangible heritage. The meeting fostered discussions on climate change impacts on heritage, available tools for assessing and mitigating climate-related risks, and the role of heritage professionals in safeguarding heritage while contributing to the global Net Zero goal.

The Tool will be peer-reviewed and field-tested at various heritage institutions and sites.

To engage in knowledge-sharing discussions and join the collective effort to safeguard cultural heritage amid the global climate crisis, register for the upcoming international conference “Net Zero: Heritage for Climate Action”, 25 – 27 February 2024

Register Here

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