Members of the global Climate Heritage Network have agreed a declaration urging governments to recognise the “fundamental role” culture can play in realising a low-carbon, climate-resilient future.
The network brought cultural heritage stakeholders together with ministers from Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates for a fringe event at Cop27 to discuss culture-based strategies for climate planning, policy and action.
The dialogue session, which was held at the Sharm El-Sheikh Museum, highlighted the impact of the climate crisis on culture, cultural heritage and landscapes, as well as the fundamental role of culture in “helping to imagine and realise a low-carbon, climate resilient future”.
On 17 November, which was Solutions Day at Cop27, the Climate Heritage Network presented an initiative to launch and promote the "Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration on Culture-based Climate Action".
The declaration urges state parties to develop and implement culture-based climate action strategies, and encourages governments to incorporate climate change into cultural policy.
The initiative was organised in response to what the Climate Heritage Network has described as a “culture-sized hole” in the climate policy-making agenda.
Describing current climate planning as “dangerously off course”, the network says that giving attention to the cultural dimensions of the crisis and the socio-cultural conditions necessary to bring about transformative climate action “is the corrective the world urgently needs”.
The network formed a working group at last year's Cop26 in Glasgow to ensure arts and heritage voices were amplified in climate discussions at this year's conference in Egypt, which runs 7-18 November.
The Climate Heritage Network is inviting the hosts of Cop28 in Dubai to convene "a high-level ministerial roundtable on culture and heritage-based climate solutions to explore new frameworks for collaboration on culture-based strategies that will both accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy and facilitate adaptation to the impacts of climate change".
Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration
17 November 2022
The declaration stresses that culture, from arts to heritage, plays a fundamental role in helping people to imagine and realise low carbon, just, climate resilient futures and that culture-based climate action has a crucial role to play in meeting the objectives of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, including those related to mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage, and in promoting climate-resilient sustainable development.
It urges state parties and civil society organisations, to develop and implement culture-based climate action strategies that emphasise arts, culture and heritage programmes on climate change.
It encourages governments – at all levels of governance – to develop strategies that incorporate climate change in cultural policy.
It recognises the combined role that ministries of culture and ministries of environment play in addressing climate change.
It also underlines the need to better understand the role of culture and heritage in enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change, and recognises the need to increase cooperation through multilateral, bilateral and regional complementary initiatives that aim to raise awareness and enhance understanding of the role of arts, culture and heritage on action on climate change and its impacts, opportunities and co-benefits.
Climate Heritage Network