2nd Policy Brief on the effects of climate change on the intangible cultural heritage

On 12 and 13 April 2024, a policy round table was held in Ravello by the European University Centre for Cultural Heritage, as part of GreenHeritage – The impact of climate change on the Intangible Heritage, an Erasmus + project funded by the European Union, which over three years (from December 2022 to November 2025) and in synergy with professionals, research, administrations, local stakeholders and civil society, aims to study to what extent and how climate change may constitute a risk for intangible cultural heritage. Traditions, rituals, languages, songs, dances, foods and knowledge constitute a precious foundation of the identity of communities as well as  the guarantee of their sustainable development. But, due to the effect of climate change, they are becoming increasingly vulnerable and fragile over time.

Following the debate rising from the round table, a policy brief has been drawn up, containing a series of guidelines to prevent, where possible, and/or mitigate the effects of climate change on intangible cultural heritage. Specifically, the European University Centre for Cultural Heritage invited experts, local administrators, research institutions, businesses and associations to dialogue and discuss in the context of two round tables. The first, “Knowledge and Techniques”, focused on the art of dry stone walls on the Amalfi Coast, selected as a case study of exceptional value to understand how extreme meteorological phenomena – for example, heavy rains or persistent droughts – can affect traditional construction techniques and, broadly speaking, ancient knowledge. The second round table, dedicated to “Traditions, rituals and cults”, centering  on the cases of the feast of Madonna Avvocata in the Amalfi Coast and the Festa dei Ceri of Gubbio, dealt with the ways in which climate change produces a vast range of multilevel effects, which can put at risk some of the most heartfelt celebrations in the history of our country.

The policy brief is aimed at local, regional, national and European administrations and contains a series of recommendations that aim to guide decision-making processes, but also to develop new awareness, both within the reference communities of the case studies and other communities that present the same vulnerabilities, as well as in associations, sector bodies and foundations.

The Policy Brief contains a series of programmatic indications to focus on in the medium and long term: 62 recommendations divided into 14 macro themes.

You can read the 2nd policy brief here