Climate change impacts on cultural heritage: Facing the challenge

Potts Andrew

Andrew Potts is the coordinator of the International Council on Monuments and Sites’ Climate Change and Heritage Working Group (CCHWG).  In December 2017, the Triennial ICOMOS General Assembly meeting in New Delhi, India adopted Resolution 19GA 2017/30 entitled “Mobilizing ICOMOS and the Cultural Heritage Community To Help Meet the Challenge of Climate Change.”  The CCHWG was formed to advance the Resolution’s ambitious mandate.  The Group is currently working on a variety of initiatives in line with ICOMOS’s view that heritage sites as well as local communities' intangible heritage, knowledge and practices constitute an invaluable repository of information and strategies to address climate change, even while those resources are themselves at risk from climate impacts.

A lawyer by training, for 20 years Andrew practiced in the Tax Credit Finance & Syndication group of Nixon Peabody LLP, where he focused on the intersection of historic preservation and sustainable development finance. He also helped coordinate Nixon Peabody’s pledge to provide $2 million of pro bono legal services by 2020 to support sustainability solutions as part of the Lawyers for Sustainable Economy initiative.

In February 2015 Andrew took an 18-month sabbatical from his legal practice to serve as Executive Director of US/ICOMOS. His focus was implementing US/ICOMOS’s Knowledge Exchange strategic plan, which aimed to increase the connectivity of US historic preservationists to international cultural heritage work in areas like climate change, disaster risk reduction, cultural landscapes, sustainable development and telling the stories of all communities.

Andrew holds a J.D. from Indiana University. He previously served as Associate General Counsel of the US National Trust for Historic Preservation and is the recipient of the National Trust’s John H. Chafee Trustees Award for Outstanding Achievement in Public Policy. Andrew is a member of the ICOMOS international committee on heritage Law, Administration and Finance (ICLAFI) and previously served as ICOMOS Focal Point for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).