Due to the adverse effects of climate change, cultural and natural heritage is nowadays under constant threat. If we do not act immediately to address climate change, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) latest reports clearly underline, the damage on cultural and natural heritage and, in particular on the integrity of world monuments of an outstanding universal value, may become irreversible.
Greece, repository of a wealth of cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, wishes to convene, in June 2019, an international Conference, addressing the climate change impact on cultural and natural heritage, with the participation of Heads of State or Government, International Organizations, distinguished academia and other relevant stakeholders. With this initiative, Greece, taking into account the ongoing discussion on the issue introduced by UNESCO, the established expertise of WMO on climate effects and the developments in UNFCCC, wishes to encourage climate action, making a positive contribution to the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the achievement of SDGs 11.4 and 13.
The Conference aims to result in a framework of viable solutions, including the use of new technologies and concrete actions on how to monitor and protect the world’s cultural and natural heritage as well as strengthen its resilience. Furthermore, it will seek to raise awareness and encourage global action on this issue, contributing at the same time to the goals of the Climate Summit in September 2019 and the implementation of UNESCO’s strategy for action on climate change. In addition, the Conference could consider the establishment of a standing committee on heritage and climate change, with a view to assisting, as appropriate, the work of relevant UN bodies and International Organizations.
The Conference intends to cover topics such as adaptation and resilience of cultural and natural heritage to climate change and extreme weather events, enhancement of cultural heritage protection, information and awareness raising, education, exchange of best practices, exploitation of research outcomes and use of innovative technologies as well as promotion of cooperation at all levels.
The concluding Declaration of the Conference will aim at sending a strong political message all around the world and bringing together political and scientific actions, including the development of multi-stakeholder actions and projects, under the themes of cultural heritage and climate change.