World Heritage (WH) symbolises our legacy from the past, our present and what we pass to future generations. Both natural and cultural heritage therefore transcend the temporal and spatial boundaries of humankind. WH can assist societies to mitigate and adapt to climate change through the ecosystem benefits, such as storage of carbon to support water catchments.
Cultural heritage,can also convey traditional knowledge that builds resilience for change to come and leads us to a more sustainable future. As demonstrated by recent memory of disasters in Asia ( 2011 Tsunami in Japan and 2015 Earthquake in Nepal), WH can be managed to help reduce risks posed from natural hazards and long-term climate change impacts. While people must get a priority while dealing with disasters, heritage sites are equally important to salvage as they a) help strengthen pre-disaster resilience of culture and communities b) support post -disaster recovery.
At the same time, world heritage properties are themselves exposed to climate change with their integrity being threatened and values compromised. The loss or deterioration of the OUV would negatively impact local and national communities, both for their cultural importance as a source of information on the past and a symbol of identity, and for their socio-economic as well as ecological values. Existing national climate change adaptation plans usually may not include heritage expertise in their operations.
Since risks related to disasters within heritage sites are a function of their vulnerability to different potential hazards each site requires contexts specific DRR plans. It is therefore proposed that DRR solutions including ecosystem based DRR (Eco-DRR) approaches that focus on sustainable management to reduce disaster risk need to be re-emphasized in the context of Asiapacific region.
- 1st December 2019– open call for Abstracts
- 15th January 2020- deadline for abstract submission (word limit: 300 words)
- 31st January 2020- Decision of the selection committee conveyed.
- 10th February 2020- first complete case study draft (word limit : 2000 words) ready for internal review
- 2nd March 2020- 15th April 2020 – second order draft shared for external review and feedback to authors
- 15th April – 30th April 2020- Design and finalization of E-publication
- 12-15 June 2020- Publication launch at IUCN -World Conservation Congress
- Site vulnerability to climate change (e.g. Rice terraces of Philippines) and natural hazards (e.g. volcanic ash impacting Borobudur temple) / human-induced hazards (landslides impacting Darjeeling mountain railway).
- Evidence in support that heritage sites (eg. forested area of Shiretoko National Park) are able to reduce vulnerability to natural hazards thereby contributing to Eco-DRR.
- Role of cultural heritage in strengthening resilience of local communities (e.g. Rani-Ki-Vav stepwell system) to climate change.
- Role of traditional ecological knowledge (e.g. Apatani Rice and fish cultivation system) for sustainable resource use in and around heritage sites.
- Role of WH to strengthen the linkage between ecosystem services, environmental resilience and livelihood.
- Integration of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction into World Heritage sites management plans and policies (e.g. Temple of Preah Vihear, Cambodia).
- Both successful and unsuccessful examples can be used to highlight what should be replicated or avoided and what can be inspiring.