Climate Change and World Heritage
© NOAA / Andy Collins / Papahānaumokuākea
The issue of the impacts of climate change on World Heritage natural and cultural properties was brought to the attention of the 29th session of the World Heritage Committee in 2005 by a group of concerned organisations and individuals.
The World Heritage Committee requested the World Heritage Centre of UNESCO, in collaboration with the Advisory Bodies (IUCN, ICOMOS and ICCROM), interested States Parties and the petitioners who had drawn the attention of the Committee to this issue, to convene a broad working group of experts on the impacts of Climate Change on World Heritage. The Committee took this decision noting "that the impacts of Climate Change are affecting many and are likely to affect many more World Heritage properties, both natural and cultural in the years to come".
The Committee requested the broad working group of experts to:
- review the nature and scale of the risks posed to World Heritage properties arising specifically from Climate Change;
- jointly develop a strategy to assist States Parties to implement appropriate management responses; and
- prepare a joint report on "Predicting and Managing the Effects of Climate Change on World Heritage" to be examined by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006).
The expert meeting took place on 16 and 17 March, 2006 at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris and resulted in the preparation of a report on predicting and managing the effects of climate change on World Heritage, as well as a strategy to assist States Parties to the WH Convention to implement appropriate management responses.
At its 30th session in July 2006, the World Heritage Committee reviewed these two documents and took the decision to request all the States Parties to implement the strategy so as to protect the outstanding universal values, integrity and authenticity of the World Heritage sites from the adverse impacts of climate change.
The Committee also requested the World Heritage Centre, the Advisory Bodies and States Parties to develop and implement pilot projects at specific World Heritage sites, especially in developing countries so as to define best practices for the strategy. The World Heritage Committee further requested the World Heritage Centre to develop, through a consultative process, a policy paper on Climate Change and World Heritage to be presented to it at the 31st session in 2007.
- UNESCO Director General’s Statement on Climate Change and World Heritage
- World Heritage Reports n°22 - Climate Change and World Heritage
- World Heritage Review Focuses on Climate Change
- Case Studies on Climate Change and World Heritage
- Development of Policy Document on Impacts of Climate Change and World Heritage
- Working Group Meeting to Develop the Draft Policy Paper on Impacts of Climate Change on World Heritage Properties, 05-06 February 2007
Other activities (2)
- Mount Kenya Climate Change Adaptation plan
- Petition to the World Heritage Committee: The Role of Black Carbon in Endangering World Heritage Sites Threatened by Glacial Melt and Sea Level Rise (January 29, 2009)
- Policy document on the impacts of climate change on World Heritage Properties (2008)
- Rift Valley Lakes CC Adaptation Plan
- State Parties Responsibilities under the World Heritage Convention in the Context of Climate Change – Absolute Minimum Temperature Rise Necessary for Compliance with the World Heritage Convention, September 2008
- The Impacts of Climate Change on World Heritage Properties