ICOMOS: Culture Heritage & Climate Change

Our Mission

The International Co-Sponsored Meeting on Culture, Heritage, and Climate Change (ICSM CHC) is being prepared to:

  • take stock of the state of knowledge regarding connections of culture and heritage with anthropogenic climate change;
  • establish a baseline of reference regarding the nature, depth of, and gaps in knowledge regarding these connections;
  • build new conversations and collaborations between the broad fields of culture, heritage, and climate change that will support future research and action in climate science, adaptation, and mitigation.


The ICSM CHC will bring together 100 researchers and practitioners from around the world in a virtual Meeting during the week of 6 December 2021. The report of the ICSM CHC will be provided to the IPCC and may serve as a resource in the scoping of the products for the IPCC seventh assessment cycle in 2022.


Thematic Questions

The ICSM CHC will explore intersections of culture, heritage, and climate change through the following overarching scientific questions and cross-cutting issues.


Overarching Questions

Systemic connections of culture, heritage, and climate change

  • Nature and scope of representation of diverse forms and scales of culture and heritage in climate literature and assessments
  • Integration of diverse knowledge systems, including Indigenous knowledge systems, across areas of climate research and response
  • Climate change itself has a history, as do all communities; nature and scope of historical, social, and cultural contexts of the Anthropocene


Loss, damage, and adaptation for culture and heritage

  • Climate impacts on culture and heritage, including methods of describing vulnerability of culture and heritage to climate impacts
  • Adaptive/preservation methods for culture and heritage, including understandings of significance and approaches to prioritization of/for action
  • Understanding of and approaches to loss and change


Roles of culture and heritage in transformative change and alternative sustainable futures

  • Capacity of historic buildings/landscapes/traditional land use to hold carbon
  • Cultural and natural heritage as sources of resilience or refuge in response to disasters
  • Heritage as inspiration for art, connection, understanding, and action on climate


Cross-Cutting Issues

Cultural governance

  • Who decides (or has decided) what heritage is? How is heritage knowledge managed?
  • Intersections of heritage with conflict


Capacity to learn from the past

  • Use of data and knowledge from the past in climate models and policy
  • Finding common ground between climate and heritage approaches to research questions