ICOMOS Canada aims to develop better conservation approaches for cultural heritage in response to climate change as well as to offer policy recommendations that address climate change.
Cultural heritage is impacted by climate change. Catastrophic events such as wildfires, hurricanes, floods will have an immediate impact and will often trigger emergency responses that may themselves also affect cultural heritage. More gradual impacts such as rising sea levels and changing ecosystems may over time irreparably impact landscapes, archaeological sites, and infrastructure.
Climate change also impacts cultural heritage indirectly. Various measures promoted and implemented by governments, corporations, and individuals to mitigate the effects of climate change, such as limiting greenhouse gas emissions and building green infrastructure, will negatively affect built heritage and landscapes.
ICOMOS Canada seeks to support inclusive and diverse points of view when it comes to cultural heritage across Canada. Its aim is to provide heritage practitioners with critical perspectives to ensure that their work meets the needs of all Canadians.
Approaching the practice of conserving cultural heritage requires an understanding of the complexity of the past, including acknowledging omission and erasure of certain narratives. Complex social questions will involve exploring contested memories.
ICOMOS Canada aims to influence the development of approaches to conserving natural and cultural heritage as well as provide perspectives on holistic conservation approaches to landscapes.
Cultural landscapes are about the relationship between nature and culture as well as the diversity of geographies and cultural expressions in Canada.
The theme is broad in exploring the many facets of cultural landscapes including rural and urban expressions of cultural landscapes, their economic and social components, the conservation of the relationships between different components of landscapes, the conservation of ecosystems, and the diversity of cultural values.
ICOMOS Canada aspires to understand, respect, and include Indigenous perspectives in the definition of best practices for the conservation of cultural heritage in Canada. The organization is acting as the International Secretariat for the ICOMOS Working Group on Indigenous Heritage and it aims to incorporate these perspectives in a general framework of conservation of cultural heritage in Canada and the world.
Indigenous perspectives need to be represented in defining and conserving cultural heritage in Canada. To do so, individuals and organizations must find a path forward towards articulating a definition of cultural heritage that reflects the perspectives and values of Indigenous peoples. Additionally, they must understand the relationship between environmental conservation and cultural identity, while understanding the types of pressures experienced by Indigenous heritage. Furthermore, organizations must outline practices that ensure the conservation of that heritage.