Climate Change and Cultural Heritage Working Group

The Climate Change and Cultural Heritage Working Group’s membership as at November 2019 is as follows:

Convenor: Susan McIntyre-Tamwoy (email Susan)
EC Representative: Flavia Kiperman

Christo Aitken
Marie Gessler
Agnieshka Kiera
Michael Pearson
Gianluca Ranzi
Mike Rowland
Anita Smith
Sheridan Burke
Vanicka Arora
Kim Wilson
Eliza Arias
Gabrielle Harrington

This working group was established in response to a recommendation by the Scientific Council adopted by a decision of the Advisory Committee (held in Pretoria 2007) that Climate Change and its associated impacts on Cultural Heritage would remain a major focus of discussion for all the National Committees and International Scientific Committees of ICOMOS. Australia ICOMOS has undertaken a number of one-off initiatives, such as the Symposium on Climate Change and Cultural Heritage Impacts, held in Cairns in 2007, and the publication of an issue of Historic Environment arising from the symposium.

In 2007 delegates attending the Australia ICOMOS eXtreme heritage Conference passed the following resolution:

  The Australia ICOMOS Conference on eXtreme heritage: managing heritage in the face of climatic extremes, natural disasters and military conflicts in tropical, desert, polar and off-world landscapes in Cairns, 19-21 July 2007, notes with concern the risks to cultural heritage posed by climate change. We ask Australia ICOMOS to recognise:
  • the impacts of global climate change on cultural heritage and the potential for mitigation and adaptation strategies to alleviate detrimental impacts on cultural heritage
  • that maintenance has a critical role in building a resilience in cultural heritage against the impacts of such change
  We urge Australia ICOMOS to encourage action to:
  • identify the cultural heritage places and landscapes at greatest risk
  • monitor and collect data about changes to cultural heritage places and landscapes due to climate change and associated effects
  • establish standards of conservation planning and practice in the face of climate change
  • improve risk preparedness and disaster planning, including through the continued work of Australia National Committee for the Blue Shield
  • underscore the indivisible relationships between tangible and intangible cultural heritage and between communities and their heritage places in planning processes
  • engage communities in these processes to be prepared and able to respond to the impacts of climate change on our cultural heritage

The role of this committee is to raise awareness of the issues relating to cultural heritage conservation arising from Climate Change both in the public and government sectors and to develop a 3 year program for Australia ICOMOS engagement with this issue.