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November 9, 2022

SustainabilityCulture at the heart of the COP27

Art Culture Heritage COP27 is an extraordinary one-day gathering of cultural organisations committed to climate action, organised during COP27 at one of Sinai’s leading cultural institutions, the Sharm El Sheikh Museum.

As a member of the Climate Heritage Network (CHN), ICOM will be present on the margins of COP27 to participate in a full day of programming billed as Art Culture Heritage COP27 (11th November 2022). These events are organised by CHN in partnership with Culture COP, with the support of the American Research Centre in Egypt (ARCE) and the NGO Julie’s Bicycle.

We believe that museums have a unique value to bring to the fight against climate change and in imagining sustainable futures. 

Art Culture Heritage COP27 will highlight how culture-based strategies can transform climate planning, policy and action, and how cultural institutions, including museums, are strong advocates for sustainable development and resilience in their communities. At the event, ICOM President, Emma Nardi, will moderate a panel on cultural networks and climate mobilisation, alongside four leaders of cultural networks to discuss their organisations’ approaches to climate action.

The panel highlights the importance of networks for climate action, and in particular networks in the field of culture. When it comes to sustainable development, individual actions have an impact if they are carried out on a large scale. ICOM has been developping its international network for over 75 years, and we know the benefits: strength in numbers, mutual support, sharing and pooling of resources. Networks in the field of culture, or with a cultural core, are particularly well placed to mobilise and inspire people and communities to take action to reduce carbon emissions, influence policy makers and recalibrate global inequalities. ICOM will also participate in the Panel “Multiple Pathways/Common Goals” through Katharine Turvey, Head of the Capacity Building / Museum & Society Department.  The panel will be a conversation about the various cultural pathways to transformative climate action.

A global commitment

ICOM’s initiatives on sustainable development and climate action are not limited to active participation in global events. We have been working for several years both internally and externally. Our work on institutional sustainability includes the creation of a Working Group on Sustainability in 2018, the Resolution “On Sustainability and the implementation of Agenda 2030: Transforming our World” (Kyoto, 2019), the focus on climate change and the 2030 Agenda in ICOM’s Strategic Plan 2022-2028 and a carbon footprint assessment (autumn 2022). Externally, ICOM leads projects to promote sustainable development in and through museums with valuable partners such as the OECD, CHN and EU-LAC Museums. Our organisation is committed to disseminating and sharing significant case studies and field experiences in this field through publications such as our online editorial space ICOM Voices and soon, through a special issue of Museum International. ICOM Committees around the world have also convened innumerable initiatives and knowledge mobilisation activities on topics related to sustainable development.