From buildings, monuments and archaeological sites to paintings, sculptures and manuscripts, our cultural heritage plays a powerful role in shaping identities and creating strong connections between people and the places they live.

With the world’s climate changing at an unprecedented rate, many of these cultural heritage sites - from The Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage site here in Scotland to iconic structures such as the adobe city of Chan Chan in Northern Peru - are on the frontline of climate change. Rising sea levels, coastal erosion, flooding and increased frequency and intensity of severe weather events are all linked to the accelerating changes in our climate, and they pose a grave threat to the survival of these priceless historic and cultural assets.

Our cultural heritage tells the story of our past, but it also points the way to the future. The historic environment, which has witnessed changes to the climate and landscape over centuries, can help us better understand how societies of the past adapted to those challenges.


We also believe that the way these historic and cultural places touch people’s lives today, from the sense of place they give localities to the contribution they make in supporting local economies, gives them huge potential to inspire climate action and play a key role in creating resilient, sustainable communities - both here in Scotland and across the world.

That’s why we’re bringing together arts, culture, heritage and climate leaders in Edinburgh on 24-25 October to officially launch a new network calling on the cultural heritage sector to take urgent climate action.

The Climate Heritage Network was first conceived at the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. Staffed by The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), it will bring together international partners from across the sector, including government, universities, businesses and cultural organisations, to discuss both the shared challenges and opportunities posed by climate change, and to explore topics ranging from sustainable tourism to the role of cultural heritage in wider national and regional adaptation planning.

HES has been key in driving the formation of the Climate Heritage Network, and we’re delighted to put Scotland’s clear commitment to climate action on the world stage by hosting the global launch here in Edinburgh. Scotland has some of the most ambitious climate change targets in the world, and at HES we’re proud to play a lead role in supporting these through our innovative programmes of research, education and training.

However, successfully transitioning to a low carbon future and adapting to environmental changes already underway will require individuals, organisations, governments and communities to work together. The Climate Heritage Network is an important opportunity to develop new and creative partnerships, strengthen those that already exist and pool and share expertise and knowledge from all corners of the world.

Climate change is a serious threat for our cultural heritage, but it also presents us with an opportunity. The Climate Heritage Network will lead by example, demonstrating what meaningful climate action looks like and inspiring others to join us.


The Climate Heritage Network Global launch will take place at the heart of Edinburgh’s Old and New Town World Heritage Site on 24-25 October 2019. For further information, including details of the full programme and how to register, visit