Global heritage community unites with the arts and creative industries to call for culture to be at the heart of climate policy at COP28
Heritage organisations across the globe have united with the arts and creative sectors to launch a Global Call to Action urging the UN Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) to include culture in climate policy. Artists and culture and heritage voices worldwide are encouraged to sign on ahead of COP28 UN Climate Conference.
From the arts to heritage, culture has the power to help people imagine and realise low-carbon, just, climate resilient futures. The vital contribution of the European heritage sector to climate action was already demonstrated in the European Cultural Heritage Green Paper published in 2021. Yet a persistent lack of recognition of this work in climate policy undermines the sector’s vital contribution and, ultimately, the effectiveness of global climate action itself.
The Call to Action aims to shift this paradigm, by appealing for a ground-breaking ‘Joint Work on Culture and Climate Action’ decision at COP28, set to take place in Dubai from 30 November to 12 December. A Joint Work is a recognised process by which national governments can request the UN climate agency to jointly address a critical gap issue – in this case the intersections of culture and climate action. It would pave the way for the implementation of a landmark new UN work plan on culture, heritage, and climate action at next year’s UN Climate Conference (COP29).
The European Heritage Hub is leading the campaign in Europe. The draft Call to Action itself was launched and workshopped during the European Heritage Hub Forum ‘Reimagining the Anthropocene: Putting Culture and Heritage at the Heart of Climate’, which took place in September 2023 in Venice. “We have been ringing the alarm bell that heritage is in danger because of climate change, but we must be sure to recall heritage is also part of the solution”, stated Sneska Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary-General of Europa Nostra and Project Leader of the Hub.
The Secretary General of the United Nations António Guterres sent a letter of support to the Forum where he recognised the urgent need to harness culture and heritage in the fight for our planet: “We can learn from Indigenous Peoples’ relationship with the planet, and from their traditional knowledge that can help us to reduce emissions and adapt to extreme weather. We can explore how culture contributes to climate change. And we can direct the power of culture, heritage and the arts towards inspiring social and political change that can help accelerate climate action.”
— European Heritage Hub (@EurHeritageHub) November 9, 2023
Founding signatories of the Global Call include leading organisations in the field of culture and heritage from all across the world, including ICOM, ICOMOS and the Climate Heritage Network, as well as the Southeast Asian Cultural Heritage Alliance (SEACHA), the National Trust for Canada, NEMO, Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, the Petra National Trust, and the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda, and many more.
Europa Nostra, the European Heritage Hub project and many Hub partners have already endorsed the Call, including ESACH (European Students’ Association for Cultural Heritage), DigitGLAM KU Leuven, ICLEI Europe, Europeana Foundation, ELLINIKI ETAIRIA (Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage), Centro Nacional de Cultura, Eurocities, Organization of World Heritage Cities, Centre Européen de Musique, European Union Youth Orchestra, Europa Nostra Heritage Hub for Central and Eastern Europe in Krakow, ALIPH Foundation and Hispania Nostra.