Conducted as part of the British Council’s Cultural Protection Fund initiative, this research highlights the very urgent issue of cultural heritage being at risk from climate change, and explores best practices to protect cultural heritage against these effects. Focusing on East Africa, it explores existing discourse and actions, and makes recommendations for future Cultural Protection Fund activities.
- Cultural heritage and climate change bridge the divide between culture and nature that has long deterred joint action; the creative arts can bring new immediacy to the climate change discussion, attracting new audiences and awakening interest.
- Intangible cultural heritage is key to developing resilience to climate change; safeguarding this through recording, documentation, and ensuring transmission to future generations plays a central role.
- Local communities are on the frontline of climate change impact, but they rarely have a voice in the decisions affecting them; there is a need to shift from top-down approaches to initiatives that give local actors greater power and resources.
- Policy responses and guidance should be mindful of the need to adapt to climate change, thus building resilience.
Contributing to climate action
By advancing understanding of the intersection between cultural heritage protection and climate action, and showcasing examples of best practice, the report highlights opportunities for future investment in the area. It informs policies and actions for avoiding the negative effects of climate change on cultural heritage, and is helping to address the lack of on-the-ground interventions that consider adaptation to climate change in relation to the impact of climate change on cultural heritage.
Reinforcing COP26 priorities
The research highlights the work and impact of the Cultural Protection Fund, a major initiative by the UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) that supports efforts to protect cultural heritage at risk. By creating sustainable opportunities for economic and social development through building capacity to foster, safeguard and promote cultural heritage, it is an example of the UK’s wider contribution to tackling global challenges being highlighted and reinforced at COP26.
The research was conducted by Triple Line Consulting; the final report was developed by Dr. June Taboroff and Pierre Couté, supported by Cultural Protection Fund managers, UNESCO, ICCROM, ICOMOS and other experts.
Why the British Council?
As manager of the Cultural Protection Fund, in partnership with DCMS, the British Council is using its network of regional offices and staff to generate greater impact in this area and to further enhance the field of cultural heritage protection.