The Institute of Disaster Mitigation for Urban Cultural Heritage, Ritsumeikan University Kyoto, Japan is organizing the 11th International Training Course on Disaster Risk Management of Cultural Heritage in Japan from 10 to 26 September 2016 under the UNESCO Chair Programme on Cultural Heritage and Risk Management, in cooperation with UNESCO, ICCROM, ICOMOS/ICORP.

Climate change is increasing the frequency of disasters caused by hydro-meteorological events such as heavy rainfall, flash floods, cyclones, typhoons and storm surges. As a result, many heritage sites located in global hot spots such as coastal areas especially below sea level are exposed to risks of inundation greater than ever before. Also there might be low frequency high intensity incidents of flooding that may trigger landslides along mountain slopes. Moreover climate change is resulting in higher temperatures are also resulting increased incidents of wild fires putting cultural heritage located in forested areas to greater risk than ever before.

These hazards are adversely impacting peoples’ safety, livelihoods as well as values associated with cultural heritage. The increased vulnerability and exposure of cultural heritage to these climate related hazards and potential scenarios will impact various typologies of cultural heritages in the future. Critical challenges in integrating Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction are further elaborated based on review of the international frameworks on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation and their implications on policy at national levels. Therefore there is urgent need of mainstreaming cultural heritage protection in wider policy, planning and institutional systems for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Moreover disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation need to be integrated within existing site management systems.

World is facing unprecedented rate of urbanization than ever before. Number of people living in cities equaled those in villages in 2007 and is rising ever since. Such a fast pace of urbanization accompanied by densification, poorly constructed buildings and overburdened infrastructure is putting tremendous pressure on heritage sites especially those located in urban areas, thereby increasing their vulnerability to hydro-meteorological hazards related to climate change.

In order to reduce these risks, appropriate mitigation and adaptation strategies need to developed taking into consideration heritage values. It is also important to recognize many examples of traditional knowledge evolved by communities through series of trials and errors that demonstrate that cultural heritage can be an effective source of resilience against climate change induced disaster risks and integrate these in disaster risk management strategies.

Considering these issues and challenges, the 11th International Training Course will give special focus on the Protecting cultural heritage from climate change induced disaster risks.

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