Climate change impacts on cultural heritage: Facing the challenge

Professor Paolo Vitti


Europa Nostra is particularly concerned about the immense threats of climate change on tangible and intangible heritage in Europe and elsewhere in the world. As the oldest and largest pan-European association for Cultural Heritage, we are active in promoting the value and potentials of Cultural Heritage for the society. We also work to raise awareness and trigger action by public authorities and policy makers. We are therefore ready to support through our network and our advocacy, but also by building partnership with other stakeholders (such as ICOMOS), any action necessary to mitigate effects of climate change on Cultural Heritage.

Cultural Heritage bears traditional knowledge that builds resilience for change, thus contributing to a more sustainable future, and can be a valuable source of information: Cultural Heritage can be a ‘climate change observatory’ to gather information that supports mitigation and adaptation practices. Research and education, dissemination of information, promotion of traditional practices are strong tools that need immediate support from public authorities at all levels of governance, but also a convinced and widespread activism of civil society.

Cultural and natural heritage protection must be linked to the implementation of a high quality “Baukultur” (as expressed in the Davos Declaration adopted in January 2018). In this way, we shall reduce the inappropriate exploitation of resources and use of our habitat. At the same time, we believe that we also have to give special attention to those countries which have very limited resources for undertaking the needed actions to preserve Cultural Heritage from the dangers and even disasters caused by climate change. A world-wide solidarity movement should therefore be promoted as one of the key points of future global and European partnerships to support cultural heritage adaptation to climate change.