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19 September 2019

Edinburgh to host launch of new Climate Heritage Network

Arts, culture, heritage and climate leaders will gather in Edinburgh on Thursday 24 and Friday 25 October.

Holyrood Park and Arthur's Seat

An international network to mobilise cultural heritage organisations to take urgent action against climate change is to have its official launch in Scotland later this year.

Hosted by Historic Environment Scotland (HES), in partnership with arts, culture and heritage organisations around the world, the Climate Heritage Network Global launch will take place in Edinburgh on Thursday 24 and Friday 25 October. The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is staffing the new network.

The Climate Heritage Network will highlight the severity of the threat that climate change poses to cultural heritage and explore the potential of the sector to inspire climate action and support communities in the equitable transition to a low carbon future.

The two-day programme will bring together arts, culture and heritage leaders and climate experts ahead of the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit, which takes place in Santiago, Chile from Monday 2- Friday 13 December. It will also lay the foundation for cultural heritage at COP26, which will take place in Glasgow next year.

Partners from cities, regions, universities and cultural organisations around the world will attend, including representatives from the California Office of Historic Preservation, Historic England, The Metropolitan Institute of Cultural Heritage in Ecuador and The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in Ireland.

The two-day event will cover a range of topics, from sustainable tourism to the role of cultural heritage in wider national and regional adaptation planning.

Ewan Hyslop, Head of Technical Research & Science at HES, said:

HES has been key in driving the formation of the Climate Heritage Network, and we’re delighted to be hosting the global launch here in Edinburgh, again putting Scotland’s clear commitment to climate action on the world stage.

Cultural heritage plays a powerful role in shaping identity and connecting people to the places they live. It tells the story of our past, helping us understand how the climate has impacted the historic environment over time, but it also points the way to how we can cut greenhouse gases and adapt for the future.

While cultural heritage sites are on the frontline of our changing climate, they also have an important part to play in creating resilient, sustainable communities both here in Scotland and across the world.

We are looking forward to welcoming delegates for discussion and debate which is sure to be challenging and inspiring in equal measure.”

Andrew Potts, Coordinator of the ICOMOS Climate Change & Heritage Working Group, said:

“Despite profound connections between climate change and culture, today there are many arts, culture and heritage actors and advocates whose talents have not yet been mobilized on climate change issues. The Climate Heritage Network aims to flip that paradigm.”

The Climate Heritage Network Global launch will take place at the heart of Edinburgh’s Old and New Town World Heritage Site on Thursday 24 and Friday 25 October.

Get further information, including details of the full programme and how to register, about the Climate Heritage Network launch.

About the Climate Heritage Network

The Climate Heritage Network was first conceived at the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.

It is a voluntary, mutual support network of local and city, state/provincial and regional, indigenous and tribal, and national arts, culture and heritage governmental and quasi-governmental boards, offices, ministries and site management agencies as well as NGOs, universities, businesses and other organizations committed to aiding their communities in tackling climate change and achieving the ambitions of the Paris Agreement. 

About the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) works for the conservation and protection of cultural heritage places. It is the only global non-government organization of this kind, which is dedicated to promoting the application of theory, methodology, and scientific techniques to the conservation of the architectural and archaeological heritage.

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES)

  • We are the lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. We will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.
  • Historic Scotland, Scran, Canmore, The National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP), The Engine Shed, Stirling Castle and Edinburgh Castle are sub-brands of HES.
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For further information, please contact:

Claire Mullaney
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
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