Europa Nostra hosts successful heritage workshop within the European Week of Regions and Cities 2020

The European Week of Regions and Cities (#EURegionsWeek) is the biggest annual event dedicated to regional policy. In the 2020 edition of the #EURegionsWeek, which took place fully in digital format, Europa Nostra teamed-up with the European Association of Development Agencies – EURADA to organise a virtual workshop entitled ‘Cultural heritage: part of the past or key to our future?’ on the timely topic of cultural heritage and climate change. The workshop took place on the afternoon of 13 October.

Over 60 participants from all across Europe and beyond attended and actively contributed to the workshop, including European policy-makers, representatives from local, regional and cities’ authorities, Universities and Research bodies as well as heritage professionals and representatives of civil society organisations.

During this workshop, key experts in the field discussed the role and potential of cultural heritage for climate action and to contribute towards achieving the ambitions of the European Green Deal. Among the many aims of the European Green Deal are calls for more energy-efficient, circular and climate-proof buildings, to be achieved in part through a wave of careful building renovations. However, the texts laying out the European Green Deal do not directly refer to cultural heritage. This workshop aimed at demonstrating how heritage is an issue of utmost importance to the European Green Deal and at showing the role of heritage in achieving Europe’s green ambitions.

The high-level panel was composed by Anne Grady, Policy Officer responsible for heritage and climate change at the European Commission, Directorate General for Education and Culture, Andrew Potts, Coordinator of the ICOMOS Climate Change and Heritage Working Group, Mato Mojaš from the Dubrovnik Development Agency and Nuno Bilo from the Évora City Council. The session was moderated by Sneška Quaedvlieg – Mihailovic, Secretary General of Europa Nostra.

During this interesting workshop, Anne Grady, Policy Officer at the European Commission, gave the wider policy context by presenting what the European Commission is currently doing in the field of climate and heritage as well as concrete EU actions and funding on this field.

Andrew Potts, Coordinator of the ICOMOS Climate Change and Heritage Working Group, then presented the European Heritage Green Paper currently being developed by Europa Nostra in cooperation with ICOMOS. “The Green Paper project by Europa Nostra and ICOMOS is a roadmap to realise the potential of cultural heritage in support of the European Green Deal,” he stated.

Finally, Mato Mojaš from the Dubrovnik Development Agency, and Nuno Bilo from the Évora City Council, presented two concrete EU-funded initiatives that the cities of Dubrovnik in Croatia and Évora in Portugal are implementing to speed up the green transition: the Interreg-funded SEADRION project on renewable energy sources and the H2020-funded POCITYF project on innovative smart technologies for historic cities, respectively.

During the wrap-up and conclusions of the workshop, Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailovic, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, stated: “EU leaders and Institutions can count on the heritage world as a vital ally for achieving the ambitions of the European Green Deal. I hope this workshop is the beginning of a very intense and fruitful cooperation between Europa Nostra and EURADA, as well as all the speakers and projects involved as to tackle, together, this pressing issue.

Watch the full recording of the workshop ‘Cultural heritage: part of the past or key to our future?’ here.

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