ICOMOS Submission to the UN Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights on Cultural Rights and Climate Change

ICOMOS, - (2020) ICOMOS Submission to the UN Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights on Cultural Rights and Climate Change. ICOMOS Submission to the UN Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights on Cultural Rights and Climate Change . pp. 1-10. [Article]

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Abstract (in English)

ICOMOS, the International Council on Monuments and Sites, thanks the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights for giving the opportunity to share reflections on the theme of climate change, culture and cultural rights. Climate Change is already impacting communities, culture and cultural rights globally. According to the best available climate science, adaptation to these impacts is expected to be more challenging for ecosystems and human systems at 2°C of global warming than for 1.5°C. Poverty and disadvantage are expected to increase as global warming increases. Disadvantaged and vulnerable populations, some indigenous peoples, and local communities dependent on agricultural or coastal livelihoods are disproportionately at risk. These climate impacts threaten cultural rights, and the threat is greater at 2°C of global warming than for 1.5°C. A fundamental way to reduce the threats posed by climate change to culture and the exercise of cultural rights is by decreasing global warming. This requires acceleration of far-reaching, multilevel and cross-sectoral climate mitigation designed to limit warming to 1.5°C. Adaptation is also needed. Cultural heritage offers immense potential to drive durable climate action and support just transitions by communities towards low carbon, climate resilient development pathways. Increasing the attention and assistance given to cultural rights defenders would increase the realisation of the potential of culture and heritage to drive climate action. This in turn would enhance the valorisation of the work of cultural rights defenders. ICOMOS understands that the mandate of the Special Rapporteur is not safeguarding cultural heritage per se but rather focuses on cultural rights defenders. ICOMOS wishes to emphasis, however, the close correlation between protecting culturally significant places and protecting cultural rights. Cultural heritage places are the living environment for people. For many, these places provide access to culture, they allow people to participate in and contribute to cultural life and are an expression of their cultural identity - people may have the resilience to adjust to changing conditions and cultural practices and identities may change over time. Some cultural heritage places are the sole providers of work or food, and therefore they are essential to the survival of a community: when such places are at risk, the survival of associated communities is threatened. In view of these trends, ICOMOS has committed itself to mobilising the cultural heritage field for climate action. In 2019 it produced a substantial report “The Futures of Our Pasts; Engaging Cultural Heritage in Climate Action” to bridge the gap between climate change and cultural heritage and to catalogue the needs and opportunities for #climateheritage action. While relevant portions of the 2019 report are summarised in the questions, the full text has been provided as annex 1 to this response. ICOMOS is a world-wide organisation and has documented many examples, positive and negative, that illustrate the answers provided. Additional examples have been provided in annex 2. ICOMOS wishes to point out that at the same time that its mission is to protect the collective representations of a society (its cultural heritage) it is also engaged in developing ever more culturally sensitive practices of protection. Just as 'culture' refers to selected, particularly meaningful representations of a society's past and present ways of life, it also refers to the actual performance or living of these ways of life. For this reason ICOMOS is making continuous efforts at implementing its work in accordance with rights-based perspectives that ensure the rights of individuals and groups to enjoy their own culture even as protecting its monuments and sites is entrusted with national conservation institutions and international expert mechanisms like ICOMOS. Finally, ICOMOS is concerned that some States will not integrate climate change action in their post-covid19 response but will focus on economic growth at the cost of culture, cultural rights and climate change action.

Item Type: Article
Corporate Authors: ICOMOS
Languages: English
Keywords: ICOMOS; Cultural rights; Climate change; Global warming; Climate action; Culture; Cultural heritage; Historic monuments and sites; Sustainable development; Communities; Protection; Resilience; Practices; Right-based perspectives; Environment
Subjects: E.CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION > 11. Legal protection and Administration
G.DETERIORATION > 03. Climate change
J.HERITAGE ECONOMICS > 05. Heritage and sustainable development
K.LEGAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE ISSUES > 02. International legislation
K.LEGAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE ISSUES > 05. International organizations
Depositing User: intern icomos
Date Deposited: 06 May 2021 10:27
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2021 09:54
URI: https://openarchive.icomos.org/id/eprint/2462

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