On July 3rd, 2019, the Climate Change and Heritage Working Group of ICOMOS delivered a new report on the critical importance of heritage issues to international climate change policy, to the States Parties of the World Heritage Committee. Titled “The Future of Our Pasts: Engaging Cultural Heritage in Climate Action,” the report was co-published by ICOMOS and the Center for Heritage and Society with funding by the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN).
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said that achieving the Paris Agreement’s ambition of limiting global warming to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Acknowledging and harnessing the power of multiple aspects of cultural heritage would increase the ambition for — and effectiveness of –transformative change, the ICOMOS report released Wednesday concluded. Cultural heritage affects community resilience, the impact of climate-induced migration on individuals and their communities, ways in which communities adapt to climate change through traditional and indigenous knowledge, and in the form of iconic sites, serves as a barometer of local changes in climate.
The “Future of Our Pasts” report was prepared under the scientific leadership of ICOMOS’s Climate Change and Heritage Working Group. The ICOMOS Triennial General Assembly held in 2017 in New Delhi, India adopted Resolution 19GA 2017/30 entitled ‘Mobilizing ICOMOS and the Cultural Heritage Community To Help Meet the Challenge of Climate.’ (see Resolutions p. 18) The Climate Change and Cultural Heritage Working Group was formed in order to further the resolution’s ambitious aims.
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