"Group of Friends of Culture-Based Climate Action” launched at COP 28 in response to Global Campaign by Cultural Voices

Europa Nostra,
09 December 2023, United Arab Emirates

Yesterday, history was made at COP 28. Exactly one month after the launch of the Global Call to put Culture at the Heart of Climate Action, the first ministerial meeting on this topic was convened and chaired by the Ministers of Culture of the UAE and Brazil. More than 30 governments were represented as well as key intergovernmental organisations: UNESCO, ALECSO; ICESCO and the European Union represented by the European Commission. The event was live streamed.

The ministerial meeting was also attended by top representatives of the following leading cultural organisations (mentioned in alphabetical order), all of whom are founding signatories of the Global Call to Action and most of whom are active members of the Climate Heritage Network: ALIPH (International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas), Brazil Climate Action Hub, British Council, Europa Nostra/European Heritage Hub, International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), International Council of Museums, (ICOM), International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), International Peace Institute, Julie’s Bicycle, People’s Palace Projects, Petra National Trust, Southeast Asian Cultural Heritage Alliance (SEACHA), and World Monuments Fund (WMF).

After the opening remarks by the Co-Chairs H.E. Sheikh Salem bin Khalid Al Qassimi (Minister of Culture of the UAE) and H.E. Margareth Menezes (Minister of Culture of Brazil), HRH Princess Dana of Jordan, in her capacity as Special Envoy of the Climate Heritage Network, addressed the gathering on behalf of the large constituency of cultural voices, many of whom were invited to attend this ministerial meeting.

‘’This is an absolutely pivotal step towards the full integration of culture and heritage in the climate agenda to achieve transformative and meaningful action and realise a just, equitable, inclusive and diverse climate resilient future…for years, a growing coalition of cultural leaders and advocates, as well as civil society organisations from throughout the world have been committed to this goal…I am proud to work with so many partners through the Climate Heritage Network’’ stated HRH Princess Dana Firas of Jordan, Climate Heritage Network Special Envoy.

Following the interventions of each representative of governments and international/European organisations, the participants unanimously adopted the Emirates Declaration on Culture-Based Climate Action. This visionary Declaration paves the way for the adoption of a Joint Work Decision on Culture-Based Climate Action at COP 29 which will take place in Europe in one year’s time, and subsequently to a related action plan ahead of COP 30 in Brazil.

“Today we need to create a path for integrating culture into climate policy for the future, as well as raise awareness of culture’s transformative powers to change behaviour, and imagine its ability to unlock creative solutions that can engage all members of society across all sectors”, said H.E. Sheikh Salem bin Khalid Al Qassimi, UAE Minister of Culture in his opening remarks.

“We argue that we will only achieve the results outlined in the Paris Agreement if we include culture, arts, heritage and creative industries as part of the response, generating conditions to transform thoughts into action”, added H.E. Margareth Menezes, Brazil Minister of Culture.

Before the ministerial meeting, its two Co-Chairs organised an exchange with representatives of the Climate Heritage Network that have played a leading role in organising the Global Call to Action and worked closely with the UAE Ministry of Culture to prepare this most successful ministerial meeting.