Emerging Professionals Networking Event, 8 pm EDT/ 5 pm PDT, 7 June 2022
INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR MONUMENTS AND SITES 2022
ICOMOS Emerging Professionals Working Group Africa-US Collaboration
Interdisciplinary Working Group on Heritage and Climate:
Lessons from Africa to Americas: Cultural Heritage for Climate Action, Adaptation, and Resilience
Date: Two virtual convenings (not webinars) in April and October (dates TBD)
Project co-leads: Olufemi Adentunji, EPWG Africa Region and Zoe Leung, EPWG U.S.
Various forms of knowledge about climate change and its impacts have been developed across local, national, regional, and international scales, demonstrating an increased awareness of the climate risks communities are facing. Over the past decades, stakeholders have developed organizations, guidelines, and policies (such as IPCC and the Paris Accord) to address the impacts of climate change. However, there is an urgent need to translate these findings and guidelines into actionable steps to address climate impacts on heritage and communities as well as to mainstream, accelerate, and scale up adaptation and resilience.
For the 2022 International Day for Monuments and Sites with the theme of “Heritage and Climate,” discussions to link cultural heritage to climate action and resilience are more important than ever. Building on the U.S.-Africa intergenerational dialogue in 2021 on heritage and society, this year’s cross-disciplinary working group seeks to contribute to the climate conversation through building synergies and collaboration between culture, science, and economics, with a focus on emerging professionals, for climate adaptation and action. This knowledge-building project, drawing from expertise and experience from Africa and the U.S., would place heritage at the center of achieving climate goals.
Countries in Africa are home to many heritage sites rooted in the culture and identity of various communities. They are also among the most vulnerable to climate change and are demonstrably least capable to adapt and build capacity for resilience. In essence, Africa is at a tipping point despite the development and progress made over the decade to address climate change impacts. In the United States, climate risks to cultural heritage are unevenly distributed. Following four years of U.S. absence from the global climate community, there is a renewed effort to not only promote climate policy and research that ensure the protection of heritage and tradition but also leverage the potential of heritage for climate actions.
The initiative is led by ICOMOS EPWG representatives from the U.S. and the Africa region (Zoe Leung and Olufemi Adentunji), to support intergenerational exchanges critical to safeguarding and promoting heritage. The working group will comprise three cross-disciplinary emerging professional members and a mentor each from the U.S. and the African region. The group will meet twice in 2022, in April and October, with the first convening taking place on April 25. Emerging Professional members will be recruited through Expression of Interest (EOI), which will be disseminated to various networks.