European Heritage Alliance comes together to strengthen the voice of heritage ahead of the 2024 European Elections

On 24 November, more than 35 representatives of 25 member organisations of the European Heritage Alliance met for the second plenary meeting of the year, this time online. The 2024 European Elections were a key topic during the meeting. The members of the Alliance were encouraged to add their voices to the Global Call to include Culture in Climate Policy. The European Heritage Hub team shared a recap since the launch of the project last May and encouraged the broader heritage sector to get involved.

Ahead of the European Parliament elections in 2024, Europa Nostra, Culture Action Europe and the European Cultural Foundation launched a joint open letter calling for culture and cultural heritage to hold a central place in electoral campaigns: in political groups’ programmes and in public conversations with Europeans about the future of our continent. Alliance members were encouraged to work on this issue at European, national and local levels, and to address the issue of culture and heritage before and after the elections.

Culture-based climate action was an important topic discussed during the meeting. Sneska Quaedlvieg-Mihailovic, on behalf of Andrew Potts, Heritage and Climate Action Advisor at Europa Nostra, reported on the intensive preparations for the UN Climate Conference (COP 28), which will take place from 30 November to 12 December in Dubai, and will include a high-level Ministerial Dialogue on culture-based climate action and the launch of a Group of Friends in support of such action. She urged the Alliance members to sign the Global Call to Action urging the UN Climate Change Convention to include culture in climate policy, which was initiated at the first European Heritage Hub Forum in Venice.

A detailed presentation of the activities and outcomes of the European Heritage Hub project undertaken since the launch last May was made by the Project’s Leader, Europa Nostra, and two European partners, Europeana and Eurocitiess. The European Heritage Hub is a EU-funded pilot project (2023-2025) bringing together heritage stakeholders and initiatives across Europe to support the transition towards a more sustainable, digital and inclusive society.

Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailovic, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, highlighted the importance of the Hub and the synergies and linkages with the European Heritage Alliance and its members, which was created in 2011 during the Europa Nostra Congress in Amsterdam. “The Hub will help further combat fragmentation and unite as many projects, programmes and organisations as possible,” she emphasised.

Other representatives of Europa Nostra detailed the various aspects of the Hub project (background, partners, objectives, needs analysis, work packages and timeline). Carla Toffolo, Hub Programme Manager, outlined the Hub Community of Practice. Iwona Łopacińska, Project Coordinator at Eurocities, mentioned the Call for local good practices: cultural heritage as an asset for the triple transformation of our society, which is open until 18 December.

Christy Drummond, Communications Manager at Europa Nostra, informed the Alliance of the future activities of the Hub, including the European Policy Monitor, the Cultural Heritage Database and the Social Forum.

Lorena Aldana, Head of External Relations and Advocacy at Europeana, announced that the second European Heritage Hub Forum will be organised by the Europeana Foundation in October 2024 in The Hague, and will explore how digital heritage contributes to Europe’s triple transformation and interlinks with other dimensions.

Last but not least, Manon Richard, Programme Manager at Europa Nostra, spoke about the new work package of the Hub which will ensure its activities duly involve and benefit partners from Ukraine, Moldova, the Western Balkans and the Caucasus.

Several members of the Alliance also shared their various activities, including the webinar “Heritage Valorisation in the Digital Age” organised by the European Historic Houses on 18 December;  the programme “Living Spaces – Cities and regions shaping the built environment for everyone” by Eurocities; and the projects ANCHISE – New solutions for cultural heritage protection – and PITCHER – Preventing illicit trafficking of cultural heritage: educational resources – presented by Michael Culture.

This was the last meeting of the European Heritage Alliance in the framework of Europa Nostra’s Network project European Cultural Heritage Agora “Empowering Europe’s Civil Society Movement for Heritage” (2022-2024), which is co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. The next meeting of the Alliance, which will be held in Spring 2024, will be organised in the framework of the European Heritage Hub.

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