UNESCO has been at the forefront of exploring and managing the impacts of climate change on World Heritage, and supports World Heritage sites on climate change adaptation and mitigation activities.
The promotion of renewable energy production is of great importance, as this technology is among the key solutions for the mitigation of climate change and the promotion of sustainable development. The number of renewable energy installation projects in all the regions of the World Heritage Convention is currently rising. The increasing number of related conservation issues raises a demand for an effective guidance tool providing methods to mitigate the possible negative impacts of such projects on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the properties.
In line with the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals 7, 13 and 11.4, the World Heritage Centre believes that protection of the world cultural and natural heritage and renewable energy projects could go hand in hand if these projects are planned, evaluated and implemented in ways that ensure the safeguarding of the OUV of World Heritage properties.
In this context, the World Heritage Centre launched an initiative to develop, in collaboration with States Parties in the Europe and North America region of the World Heritage Convention, an effective Guidance Tool, providing methods to avoid and mitigate the possible negative impacts of renewable energy projects on the OUV of the World Heritage properties.
The aim of the Guidance Tool will be to assist States Parties to the World Heritage Convention, increase public awareness and effectively contribute to knowledge dissemination. The proposed resource targets an expanding audience, comprising the relevant stakeholders of the States Parties: national, regional and local authorities and World Heritage site managers. Additionally, it aims to assist project initiators (firms and companies in the energy industry) in understanding the values of World Heritage and the principles of its protection.
Funded by the Netherlands Funds-in-Trust, the project is currently in its first stage of development (the project period runs from 1 August 2019 to 31 March 2021), and will focus on wind energy installations.
More detailed information and possibilities for contribution are available on the website of the World Heritage Centre: https://whc.unesco.org/en/renewable-energy/.