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Resilient Cultural Heritage: protect cultural heritage from sea level rise

8 November 2023

In light of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, it is crucial to address the challenges posed by rising sea levels and extreme meteorological events, which are expected to increase in frequency. Even with efforts to decarbonize our economies, the sea level is projected to rise for the next two centuries, putting at risk over 250 million people living in coastal areas less than 2 meters above sea level. Among the vulnerable sites are numerous cultural heritage locations situated in low-lying coastal regions, including 49 UNESCO World Heritage sites across the Mediterranean.

Moreover, recent data reveals that approximately 21% of the world’s Heritage sites are susceptible to river floods. Venice, as one of the cities engaged in the UNDRR campaign “Making Cities Resilient,” became a role model for Cultural Heritage protection and was acknowledged as such in 2011. The third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, held in 2015, notably integrated the safeguarding of Cultural Heritage within its adopted Framework.

As we approach the eighth year since that conference, the upcoming event in Venice aims to assess the progress and effects of implemented strategies, particularly focusing on the outcomes achieved in Venice itself. Furthermore, the conference intends to renew urgent attention towards the protection of Cultural Heritage, strengthening of early warning systems, considering the most recent scientific data on the impacts of climate change. It is essential to confront these challenges and foster a collective effort to preserve and protect our shared cultural legacies in the face of a changing climate.

The conference is organised by VSF, in collaboration with CORILA, The European House – Ambrosetti, Consorzio Venezia Nuova and Vela, with the support of Fondazione Giorgio Cini and Procuratoria di San Marco, as part of the “Biennale della Sostenibilità – The MOSE Era”, a series of initiatives promoted by VSF aimed at establishing Venice as a global reference point in climate change adaptation strategies.


8 November 2023
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CONFERENCE G. Cini Foundation