Climate change impacts on cultural heritage: Facing the challenge


On 17 September 2021, the 8th Summit of the Southern Countries of the European Union (EU MED 9) was held in Athens, where actions and initiatives related to environmental and climate change issues were decided, and the Athens Declaration on Climate Change and the Environment in the Mediterranean was signed. The Nine EU Mediterranean States (Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain) have agreed, inter alia, to work together for the protection of the Mediterranean’s cultural and natural heritage from the threats of climate change, by taking active action and officially supporting the Greek Initiative at UN level “Addressing climate change impacts on cultural and natural heritage” and its aims.

In this framework, the Nine EU Mediterranean States agreed to participate in a pilot project for the protection of the cultural and natural heritage of the Mediterranean area from the climate change impacts. The pilot project is centered over the idea of developing a “Climatic Identity” for the monument/site of cultural and natural heritage that each Member State will select for the purposes of the project. The pilot project is based on the cooperation of the said Member States in the Mediterranean area and it will be coordinated by the Academy of Athens, in collaboration with the Coordination Unit of the Flexible Mechanism.

The Academy of Athens has already developed a methodology for the selected monument for Greece, the Archaeological Site of Olympia, which focuses on the identification of climate risks, while in the next stage the vulnerability and risks analysis will follow. This methodology will constitute a model for the identification and analysis of the risks of each selected monument/site of cultural and natural heritage.