Brabec Co-authors Climate Change Action Report Presented at 43rd meeting of UNESCO World Heritage Committee

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Elizabeth Brabec, director of the Center for Heritage and Society and professor of landscape architecture and regional planning, served as one of the lead authors on a report for the Climate Change and Cultural Heritage Working Group (CCWHG) and International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).

The report serves as a warning to those in the fields of climate science and cultural heritage to support ways to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. The intention is to develop a roadmap for heritage organizations to engage on climate change issues and collaborate with the scientific community to fill research gaps and make available new opportunities. It also offers a framework for how scientists and experts might systematically catalogue the impacts of climate change in order to aid in evaluating and managing risks to cultural heritage.

ICOMOS will use the report to support the reasoning behind proposed updates to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO) World Heritage Committee’s 2007 “Policy Document on the Impacts of Climate Change on World Heritage Sites.” 

“The climate is changing and so is heritage,” said Toshiyuku Kono, president of ICOMOS. “It would be foolish to imagine the practice of heritage remaining static while the world goes through the rapid and far-reaching transitions discussed in the IPCC’s recent Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5℃.”

The work of the committee continues over the next year to expand research into the role of cultural heritage in climate change responses, and also integrate an understanding of cultural heritage with the work of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). It will be up to the public to consider heritage in a new way, one that allows us to take multi-disciplinary approaches in areas like documentation, disaster risk reduction, vulnerability assessment, conservation, education, training, and presentation.

An expert on climate change and heritage issues in migration and displacement, Brabec also oversaw the layout and production of the outline report. 

She is one of 28 lead and contributing authors from 19 countries to contribute to the report.