A two-day expert meeting on World Heritage and Climate Change successfully concluded at UNESCO Headquarters on Friday, bringing together over 50 representatives from the States Parties to the World Heritage Convention, various international organizations, non-governmental organizations, the advisory bodies to the World Heritage Committee, and academic and scientific experts to discuss current and future impacts of climate change on World Heritage sites. The resulting proposed actions and strategies will be submitted to the World Heritage Committee at its annual meeting in Vilnius (Lithuania) from 8 to 16 July.
Participants in the meeting included experts familiar with cultural and natural World Heritage sites affected by climate change; international conventions and organizations, such as the United Nations Environmental Programme, the Ramsar Convention on Wetland and World Resources Institute, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); advisory bodies to the World Heritage Committee: the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), and the International Centre for the Study and Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM); and non-governmental organizations such as Pro-Natura International, World Wildlife Fund, the Climate Justice Programme, Greenpeace, and Earthwatch Institute.
Topics reviewed during the meeting include the implications of climate change for World Heritage sites and conservation strategies. Case studies of the impact of climate change on certain World Heritage sites, and measures that are proposed or already underway, were also a basis for discussion.
The meeting was convened following a request of the World Heritage Committee at its previous session in Durban, South Africa in July 2005. It was organized by UNESCO's World Heritage Centre in cooperation with the government of the United Kingdom, who financed the event, the advisory bodies of the World Heritage Committee, ICCROM, ICOMOS and IUCN, and with the support of the United Nations Foundation.