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Into cop17 presentation cultural heritage in jeopardy, social sustainability at risk - copy without photos



“Cultural Heritage in Jeopardy – Social Sustainability at Risk”.

“Cultural Heritage in Jeopardy – Social Sustainability at Risk”.



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Into cop17 presentation   cultural heritage in jeopardy, social sustainability at risk - copy without photos Into cop17 presentation cultural heritage in jeopardy, social sustainability at risk - copy without photos Presentation Transcript

  • COP 17 DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA 6 December 2011 Professor Simon R Molesworth AM QC Chairman
    • “ Cultural Heritage in Jeopardy – Social Sustainability at Risk”
    • My address will:
    • Briefly describe INTO, the International National Trusts Organisation;
    • Confirm that cultural heritage is fundamentally jeopardised by Climate Change and consequently social stability is at risk
    • Convey some essential messages: why in response to Climate Change, we must strive to achieve international cooperation & learn from each other
    • The Mission of INTO is:
    • To promote the conservation and enhancement of the cultural and natural heritage of all nations for the benefit of the people of the world.
    • The INTO Mission is supported by six Objectives, four of which are:
    • To foster international cooperation and coordination between National Trusts and like heritage organisations;
    • To formulate and promote conservation best practices;
    • To increase and enhance the capacity of individual National Trusts;
    • To encourage the establishment and development of National Trusts and like heritage Organisations where they do not presently exist;
    • The INTO definition of “ cultural and natural heritage ”, is set out in the INTO Charter. It is a broad term .
    • The term “cultural and natural heritage” includes but is not limited to land areas, sites, structures, articles, and objects of natural, cultural, archaeological, historic, architectural, scientific, aesthetic, or social value, specifically including the context in which they are located.
    • Intangible cultural heritage interprets and celebrates all of the above. It includes the spirituality of place.
    • INTO was established by an international Charter agreed to by those attending the 12 th International Conference of National Trusts in New Delhi, India, in December 2007. The Parties to the Charter agreed to establish INTO because they:
    • Recognised the fundamental importance to humankind of protecting and promoting the world’s cultural and natural heritage
    • That principle reflects a number of international conventions focusing on human rights.
    • In October 2011 in Victoria, Canada, at the 14 th ICNT, the members and supporters of INTO adopted the Victoria Declaration on the Implications for Cultural Sustainability of Climate Change
    • If the integrity of the world’s cultures is undermined by climate change then social dislocation and social instability will follow. Such implications are likely to be experienced at all levels of society: locally, nationally and globally.
    • Climate change refugees are inevitable.
    • The destruction of culture is a fundamental breach of the principle of intergenerational equity, in that a culture destroyed or diminished within the time of the current generation will deprive members of future generations of their right to their cultural inheritance.
    • The opportunity to understand, celebrate and cherish one’s culture is an inherent component of social stability of all nations, of all peoples – the protection of cultural integrity is therefore a fundamental human right – as has been confirmed in UNESCO Conventions.
    • History has shown that the obliteration of a culture leads to social annihilation, for instance where the connectivity between a people and their place and their history has been destroyed. The intangible importance of cultural relationships, such as “a sense of place” of a people, is critical to their social identity, diversity and sustainability.
    • The cultural connectivity between a living people and their historical roots engenders pride of place and a spirit to defend it at all costs. Climate change is the current generation’s most fearsome threat most likely to undermine all people’s cultures thus destroying the integrity and continuity of those cultures.
    • UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
    • Article 25 prescribes that: “ Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources and to uphold their responsibilities to future generations in this regard ”.
    • Article 8 : 1. Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture.
    • 2. States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and
    • redress for: (a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values
    • or ethnic identities ;
    • For the sake of future generations, we must collectively tackle climate change not just because of changes in the physical environment, not just for reasons of sustaining human health and welfare, but to recognise that the core strength and connectivity of all the socio-economic systems of humankind, is maintaining cultural identity, diversity and sustainability.
    • If the global community acts too slowly in response to climate change, or acts insufficiently, the cultural legacy for those that follow the current generation will be irreparably diminished.
    • Cultural heritage holds not only the record of past successes and failures to adapt to climate change but also the record of successful ways of minimising greenhouse gas emissions and thereby shows how climate change may be mitigated.
    • Heritage the world over - similar challenges, similar lessons. Again the universality of coping with natural processes should cause us all to embrace similar heritage risk management practices
    • At the biennial INTO Conference in Dublin, Ireland, in September 2009, the members of INTO and its affiliates, adopted “ The Dublin Declaration on Climate Change” .
    • This Dublin Declaration has been presented to world leaders across the globe and has influenced the writing of like declarations in many languages in many nations.
    • The Dublin Declaration was taken to COP15 at Copenhagen where our INTO Delegation worked to influence world leaders and raise awareness
    • Most National Trusts own or are responsible for managing heritage properties – cultural & natural. Many of these are tourism venues
    • Heritage properties should be seen as “educational tools”.
    • In our current times, challenged by Climate Change, National Trusts are increasingly adopting practices so as to more sustainably and responsibly manage their properties. Adaptation has become a reality of National Trust ownership.
    • These properties can be exemplars – sending messages to the world-at-large - demonstrating what can be done with sustainable land management, striving for the least carbon footprint.
    • .
    • In a world suffering the extremes of Climate Change, National Trusts are positioned to adopt exemplary policies and thus convey strong messages.
    • To be sustainable – to understand the value inherent in existing structures, existing facilities & existing buildings, in trees, gardens and soil – all of which have embedded energy bound within their existing state.
    • To be environmentally aware & responsible, is a message capable of being conveyed for others to follow.
    • To be clever in re-use and revitalisation and so resist wastefulness and the unnecessary usage of energy.
    • Universal character of natural processes such as with building deterioration reminds us the benefit of formulating adaptation best practices of worldwide relevance.
    • Example: infestation –borer in the great wooden lanterns at Aya Sofya, Istanbul, Turkey to ephemeral traces of fossickers in Outback NSW, Australia
    • It is instructive to reflect on European cultural heritage in the context of the Climate Change.
    • Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society. [Faro, October 2005]
    • In Article 1 – the Aims of the Convention:
    • “ (a) recognise that rights relating to cultural heritage are inherent in the right to participate in cultural life, as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
    • (b) recognise individual and collective responsibility towards cultural heritage;
    • (c) emphasis that the conservation of cultural heritage and its sustainable use have human development and quality life as their goal;
    • The Dublin Declaration requested world leaders:
    • “… . to take strong and decisive action to address climate change and its impacts on heritage through mitigation strategies that reduce climate change and adaption strategies to cope with its unavoidable consequences. It is essential that these actions take into account the effect of climate change on global heritage”.
    • Intangible Heritage
    • Maintaining the storylines – “the language of the bush” – there is a need to give priority to oral histories worldwide
    • The importance of traditions – we need to be clever, to devise best practice approaches to ensure continuity of cultural identification.
    • Climate change is the greatest challenge of our times - most probably of the millennium.
    • Climate change is as much an issue about sustaining cultural integrity and social stability as it is about environmental survival. Survival involves more than sustenance.
    • Climate change must be a first order priority for all organisations focussed on culture - demanding the development of adaptation practices. Climate change is a heritage conservation issue.
    • Together humankind can tackle climate change and successful mitigate and adapt – but we will only succeed through international cooperation – through the effective exchange of learning.
    • With the cultural heritage, the essence of adaptation is to find the means to sustain it, to ensure continuity – even if relocated.
    • The failure to communicate the threat of climate change in terms which describe the dire implications for cultural identity, diversity and sustainability and consequential social degradation fundamentally weakens the prospects for global reform to combat climate change.
    • The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (“UNFCCC”) and associated UN protocols insufficiently acknowledge the capacity of climate change to substantially, if not totally, undermine the integrity of the world’s cultures, altering most and destroying many.
    • One remedy and necessary reform of the UN processes is to more effectively incorporate in to the “language” of climate change, in particular the UNFCCC, a recognition that the integrity of the cultures of all the peoples and nations are threatened by climate change.
    • Article 6 of the UNFCCC provides for education, training and public awareness.
    • The Parties to the Convention are obliged to “ promote and facilitate at the national and, as appropriate, subregional and regional levels:
    • The development and implementation of educational and public awareness programmes on climate change and its effects;
    • Public access to information on climate change and its effects”
    • INTO argues that UNFCCC Parties fail in their obligations under Article 6 if they fall short of interpreting climate change impacts in terms of its cultural implications and resultant social instability.
    • In the course of climate change debates world leaders frequently speak of consultation and seeking community consensus, yet invariably climate change is simply expressed in terms of impacts on the physical environment (even though efforts are made to draw links to human health and welfare). As a consequence of this limited perspective, communities are disconnected from understanding the full implications of climate change.
    • If the threat of climate change is largely described in terms of impacts on the physical environment, then the prospect of achieving global consensus for climate change action will always be undermined. However, if the threats of climate change are also couched in terms of culture – of societal values – then there is likely to be greater responsiveness across the global community.
    • Put in terms of cultural identity, diversity and sustainability, the path to wider community understanding and so support for climate change action (be it mitigation or adaptation) should be more achievable. There will be engendered a greater willingness to embrace essential reforms.
    • Website:
    • Email: [email_address]
    • Tel: +44 (0) 20 7799 4578