The premise: the climate crisis threatens all forms of life, lifeways and cultures. Scientific research reveals clear links between human activities and effects, such as warmer temperatures, stronger storms, severe droughts and higher sea levels.
Culture and heritage have a crucial role to play in the efforts to decarbonize and develop fair and inclusive pathways for climate action.
ICCROM’s flagship programme on First Aid and Resilience (FAR) is pleased to launch this new multi-partner capacity development initiative – Net Zero: Heritage for Climate Action. It is a first-of-its-kind project that seeks on-the-ground implementation of heritage-based mitigation and adaptation strategies to reduce the impacts of climate change for people and heritage.
Net Zero grows out of Climate.Culture.Peace, an international conference that examined the connections between heritage, disaster risk reduction, peacebuilding and climate action. Implementing key ideas discussed by over 1400 participants from 113 countries, Net Zero is generously supported by the Swedish Postcode Foundation. The Project will be strengthened by partners from Brazil, India, Kenya, Kiribati and Sweden.
Conceived as a multi-level capacity development project, Net Zero aims to apply field projects –innovation sites – in five risk-prone countries, using heritage to help mitigate climate change and reduce the risks of disasters and conflicts. The field experience will feed into an international training for change agents and community leaders. A final international symposium and publication will act as catalysts to inform policy and expand the project’s outreach by sharing the know-how on heritage for climate action in 25-30 countries suffering from acute environmental stresses. The goal of this closing activity will be to involve key UN agencies, as well as heritage and climate science decision-makers to accelerate heritage-based climate action and advance the goal of Net Zero emissions.
Net Zero is rooted in the idea that every place has a ‘climate story’ embedded in its cultural heritage, i.e., the records of how humans coped with climate variability, adapted lifeways and sustained natural resources. This cultural record supplements the existing scientific data and is the missing link in the effective risk management of climate change. Connections between culture and climate action are further emphasized by examples, such as the traditional storm shelters in Vanuatu, as well as the sustainable natural-resource use practices worldwide.
One of the Project's primary objectives is to enhance risk reduction and coping capacities of vulnerable heritage communities. The Project will address the issue related to heritage safeguarding, decarbonizing, upholding cultural rights and the sustainable development of fragile cultural bearers, and effecting change locally while strengthening efforts globally.
Net Zero will address the targets of the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
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