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World Heritage
POLICY COMPENDIUM

RESULTS

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3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties

3.5 - Factors affecting properties

3.5.10 - Climate change and severe weather events

Conclusions. “The following are [the] key principles:

i. in addressing the impacts of climate change on the outstanding universal value, integrity and authenticity of World Heritage properties, the World Heritage community will work in cooperation with other partners that also have responsibility, resources and expertise related to this challenge.

ii. The World Heritage Committee will be an advocate for relevant climate change research, and work to influence and support partners that are mandated and resourced to carry out such research.

iii. World Heritage properties will be used wherever appropriate and possible as a means to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change upon World Heritage to act as a catalyst in the international debate and obtain support for policies to mitigate climate change, and to communicate best practices in vulnerability assessments, adaptation strategies, mitigation opportunities, and pilot projects.

iv. Climate change will be considered in all aspects of nominating, managing, monitoring and reporting on the status of these properties.

v. In considering the threat posed by climate change to the OUV, authenticity and/or integrity of a World Heritage property, the World Heritage Committee will use the existing tools and processes”.

Theme:  3.5.10 - Climate change and severe weather events
Source:  WHC-07/16.GA/10 Policy document on the impact of Climate Change on World Heritage properties
Threats:  Changes to oceanic waters Desertification Drought Flooding Other climate change impacts Storms Temperature change

3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties

3.5 - Factors affecting properties

3.5.10 - Climate change and severe weather events

11. “The potential impacts of Climate Change range from physical, to social and cultural aspects. (…). Experience and lessons learned on addressing Climate Change impacts stress the need for using a number of management responses at national and local levels. The World Heritage Convention provides an opportunity to develop strategies to implement relevant actions in respect of cultural and natural heritage properties threatened by Climate Change. Given the complexity of this issue, States Parties may request guidance from the World Heritage Committee to implement appropriate management responses to face the threats posed by Climate Change on their natural and cultural properties inscribed on the World Heritage List”.

13. “Conservation is the management of change, and Climate Change is one of the most significant global challenges facing society and the environment today. The actions that need to be taken to safeguard heritage are threefold:

  • Preventive actions: monitoring, reporting and mitigation of Climate Change effects through environmentally sound choices and decisions at a range of levels: individual, community, institutional and corporate.

  • Corrective actions: adaptation to the reality of Climate Change through global and regional strategies and local management plans.

  • Sharing knowledge: including best practices, research, communication, public and political support, education and training, capacity building, networking, etc.”

15. “It is noteworthy that there are strong links between natural and cultural heritage and the Climate Change issue could be used as an opportunity for the two parts of the Convention to be brought closer together”.

16. “(…) Climate Change is one risk among a number of challenges facing World Heritage sites. This threat should be considered in the broader context of the conservation of these sites”.

Theme:  3.5.10 - Climate change and severe weather events
Source:  A Strategy to Assist States Parties to Implement Appropriate Management Responses
Threats:  Changes to oceanic waters Desertification Drought Flooding Other climate change impacts Storms Temperature change

3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties

3.5 - Factors affecting properties

3.5.10 - Climate change and severe weather events

24. "[The World Heritage Committee] also recalls the need for all States Parties to continue, and where necessary to strengthen all efforts to build resilience of World Heritage properties to Climate Change, including by further reducing to the greatest extent possible all other pressures and threats, and by developing and implementing climate adaptation strategies for properties at risk of Climate Change impacts."
Theme:  3.5.10 - Climate change and severe weather events
Decision:  41COM 7
Threats:  Changes to oceanic waters Desertification Drought Flooding Other climate change impacts Storms Temperature change

3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties

3.5 - Factors affecting properties

3.5.10 - Climate change and severe weather events

5. "[The World Heritage Committee] notes 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;

6. Encourages all States Parties to seriously consider the potential impacts of climate change within their management planning, in particular with monitoring, and risk preparedness strategies, and to take early action in response to these potential impacts;

10. Strongly encourages States Parties and the Advisory Bodies to use the network of World Heritage properties to highlight the threats posed by climate change to natural and cultural heritage, start identifying the properties under most serious threats, and also use the network to demonstrate management actions that need to be taken to meet such threats, both within the properties and in their wider context;

11. Also encourages UNESCO to do its utmost to ensure that the results about climate change affecting World Heritage properties reach the public at large, in order to mobilize political support for activities against climate change and to safeguard in this way the livelihood of the poorest people of our planet."

Theme:  3.5.10 - Climate change and severe weather events
Decision:  29COM 7B.a
Threats:  Changes to oceanic waters Desertification Drought Flooding Other climate change impacts Storms Temperature change

3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties

3.5 - Factors affecting properties

3.5.10 - Climate change and severe weather events

30. “[The World Heritage Committee] notes with concern increasing vandalism at World Heritage properties and encourages States Parties to improve monitoring and security measures as well as awareness raising on the detrimental effects of vandalism, and to consider introducing creative solutions to allow visitors to express themselves without leaving permanent marks or damage."
Theme:  3.5.10 - Climate change and severe weather events
Decision:  41COM 7
Threats:  Changes to oceanic waters Desertification Drought Flooding Other climate change impacts Storms Temperature change

3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties

3.5 - Factors affecting properties

3.5.10 - Climate change and severe weather events

Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

At site-level, the World Heritage Committee recommends to monitor the impacts of global climate change and to develop adaptive management strategies and mitigation and adaptation measures to ensure the long-term protection of the Outstanding Universal Value of the properties in response to climate and other environmental change (based on Case law further to decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme:  3.5.10 - Climate change and severe weather events
See for examples Decisions:  33COM 7B.7 33COM 7B.11 33COM 7B.23 34COM 7B.14 35COM 7B.22 36COM 7B.4 37COM 7B.14 38COM 7A.29
Case law:  Yes
Threats:  Changes to oceanic waters Desertification Drought Flooding Other climate change impacts Storms Temperature change
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