Cultural Heritage

The EMME region is considered one of the epicentres of World Cultural Heritage being the home to the earliest historic civilizations and three monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, which significantly shaped the world as we know it. Currently, the region is comprised by country states of various sizes and populations, in different economic stages of development, and with particular political, social and cultural conditions and characteristics. Yet, they all share a common challenge as they face the impact of Climate Change which is expected to threaten their well-being and growth over the next decades. The region’s rich Cultural Heritage is already affected and is expected to suffer from the effects of Climate Change.

This report intends to provide a review of the current state of preservation and preparation for Climate Change impact on Cultural Heritage in the EMME region. Furthermore, it identifies the series of specific threats against monuments, sites, traditions and rituals throughout the region caused by both natural and the related anthropogenic causes. Rising temperatures, rising sea level and coastal erosion, rainfall and extreme weather (droughts, fires, floods etc), soil erosion, desertification and dwindling water resources, environmental/ atmospheric pollution, as well as, destructive development, looting, neglect, migration and war threaten both tangible and intangible heritage and the cultural landscapes constituting the backbone of local communities and societies across the region since antiquity. 

In addition, this report offers an overview of existing policies and strategies and identifies the relevant gaps across the stakeholder-countries to mitigate and adapt to the inevitable impacts of Climate Change.  Science and technology advances and tools for documenting, monitoring, predicting, assessing and policy making are highlighted in the report. Moreover, it offers a toolkit of new policies, strategies and best practices to prepare for and ameliorate the impact of Climate Change as the region strives for a more resilient Cultural Heritage based on collaboration and coordinated action.

Finally, the report examines the catalytic role of Cultural Heritage as a change-agent towards adaptation and mitigation plans. The Humanities and the Social Sciences can be critical catalysts in framing the broader challenge in the EMME region as we try to learn from the past and to re-define the meaning, value and role of Cultural Heritage in a changing world.