IPCC to Include Culture and Heritage in Climate Change Action

The IPCC Culture, Heritage and Climate Meeting, co-hosted with ICOMOS and UNESCO was held from December 6-10, 2021. Over the course of this conference 15 virtual sessions were held to discuss issues related to knowledge systems, loss and adaptation of culture and heritage, and the role of culture and heritage in climate change adaptation strategies. At these meetings were a number of ICOMOS members, including ICOMOS Canada President Dr. Christophe Rivet, and climate change archaeologist Dr. Max Friesen, with whom ICOMOS Canada has worked with in the past. 

Over the course of four public panel discussions, this meeting marked the beginning of the IPCC’s new focus on the role of culture and heritage in climate change action, which will be incorporated for the very first time in the IPCC’s 7th assessment cycle. Three white papers were produced from these sessions, the results of which took centre stage in these discussions.

The three public discussions, which can be accessed here, were thematically focused on cultural knowledge, impacts, and solutions. Highlights from these discussions included calls to re-evaluate the hierarchies of knowledge under which we operate in order to promote greater respect and weight to Indigneous and local knowledge ways, and later discussion on scale, and reconsidering how we understand the relationship between local and global action. Additional discussions, related to ICOMOS’s Connecting Practice initiative, looked at the culture-nature divide, and the need to consider human and urban environments holistically rather than apart from the natural world. 

The results of this meeting will be synthesised and published as a report in mid-2022 so that it can inform further work by the IPCC Working Group II’s Special Report on Cities, and the UNFCCC Global Goal Adaptation work plan launched at COP26.

Additional details on ICOMOS’s presence at the meeting can be found here.