In September 2021, the Parliamentary Assembly called for an ambitious new legal framework, both at national and European level, to anchor “the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment”. In its Resolution 2402 (2021) on “Research policies and environment protection”, the Assembly underlined that research can provide the innovative solutions that are necessary to counter both the impoverishment of the planet and the problem of climate change, and to ensure the sustainable development of our societies. Research and new technologies can also provide answers to mitigate the effects of climate change.
The Council of Europe Framework Convention on the value of cultural heritage for society (Faro convention) asserts cultural heritage and culture in general at the centre of a new vision for sustainable development. The cultural heritage of Europe is today under serious threat of the devastating effects of climate change. Floods, strong storms, heatwaves, extreme rainfall, drought and landslides affect monuments, archaeological sites, historical cities, historic houses, parks and gardens, museum collections, and libraries. The foreseen rise in sea levels will cause additional coastal erosion and invasion of salty marine waters affecting coastal heritage, with an effect not only on the jewels of European common heritage – such as the Venice lagoon and other historic coastal cities – but equally the livelihoods of people living in these areas.
The Assembly should explore the conservation needs and research in new technologies to prevent or mitigate the effects of climate change on cultural heritage, recommending that this specific heritage-related activity be pursued in the future within the Council of Europe culture and heritage sector.