Climate Heritage Network launches Race to Resilience Campaign at the COP26

On 2 November 2021, in the framework of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties  (COP26) in Glasgow, the Climate Heritage Network (CHN), of which Europa Nostra is a founding member, launched the #RaceToResilience campaign (read concept note). During the hybrid event A Culture of Resilience: Launch of the Climate Heritage Network Race to Resilience Campaign co-hosted by CHN, culture-based strategies for pursuing a resilient world were put forward, analysed and discussed. The Race to Resilience aims at catalysing a step-change in the global ambition for climate resilience. Cultural actors – from the arts to heritage – must play their part, scaling up the use of culture-based strategies for pursuing a resilient world where we do not just survive climate stresses but thrive in spite of them.

Andrew Potts, Coordinator of the Climate Heritage Network, introduced the campaign, which aims at catalysing a step change towards a more sustainable  development and resilient adaptation to climate change, putting people and nature first.

The keynote speaker Karima Bennoune, who has just finished her five-year term as UN Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights, underlined the need to urgently address heritage and climate change very personally by recalling a visit to her father’s grave only to find it underwater due to excessive rainfall.

Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailovic, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, in her introduction of the keynote speaker HRH Princess Dana Firas, emphasised how much Europa Nostra looks forward to “running together with you the Race to Resilience to promote culture-based solutions for fostering climate-resilient regions, cities and villages and their communities across the globe.”

In a powerful message, HRH Princess Dana Firas – who is President of both ICOMOS Jordan and Petra National Trust, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Cultural Heritage and member of the informal “Women4Heritage” network created by Europa Nostra – pointed out the fragility of Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as the risks of losing intangible heritage. “We run the risk to lose the relationship with each other. Climate change is a threat to our lives, livelihoods and ways of life.” She reminded the audience that culture is key to resilience, but for too long it has been missing from resilience plans.

Many of the impressive contributions from around the world made compelling and personal arguments to combat the dangers to heritage as a result of climate change, including Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation on the eastern coastal area of the United States.

Tim Devine from Australia, Executive Innovation Director AKQA, discussed the [Uncertain] Four Seasons, a modern-day version of Vivaldi’s famous violin concertos. The European Union Youth Orchestra performed this dramatic work at the Redentore Church during the European Cultural Heritage Summit organised by Europa Nostra in Venice last September (read related news item).

The event A Culture of Resilience: Launch of the Climate Heritage Network Race to Resilience Campaign was hosted by the Climate Heritage Network, the African World Heritage Fund; California Office of Historic Preservation; Historic England; Historic Environment Scotland; Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage; Instituto Metropolitano de Patrimonio de Quito; National Trust of South Australia; City of San Antonio, Texas; and UCLG Culture Committee. The event launch was livestreamed on https://cop-resilience-hub.org.

About COP26
Read our COP26-related news and speeches.

About CHN
The Climate Heritage Network is a voluntary, mutual support network of arts, culture and heritage organisations committed to aiding their communities in tackling climate change and achieving the ambitions of the Paris Agreement. During COP26, the Climate Heritage Network appointed Europa Nostra as the new Regional Co-Chair of the Climate Heritage Network for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

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