In spite of the resources committed up to now in Europe, both at research and policy level, to strengthen Cultural Heritage protection towards the impact of natural and human induced disasters, the recently published document “Getting cultural heritage to work for Europe” by the EU clearly states that further steps are needed in order to ensure the sustainable management and conservation of Cultural Heritage sites, structures and artefacts in facing natural hazards, anthropogenic effects and extreme events due to climate change. Disasters and catastrophes pose risks not only to the conservation of the Cultural Heritage assets with its cultural, historic and artistic values, but also to the safety of visitors, staff and local communities living on the site or in neighbouring areas. Additionally, they cause undoubtedly negative consequences for the local economies due to the loss of tourism revenues, and for the livelihoods of local people who are dependent on it. The risk is amplified in hazard prone areas with Cultural Heritage properties, where population growth is generally higher than the average. On its turn, expansion of cities in coastal areas and/or in flood plains, coupled with inappropriate building practices and an overburdened infrastructure contribute to a further increase of the risk putting tremendous pressure on heritage sites, especially on those located in urban vulnerable areas. Moreover, climate change is contributing towards increased intensity and frequency of hydro-meteorological events, such as heavy rainfall, wind-storm, heat waves and droughts. Cultural Heritage is put at risk not only by impending disasters, but very often also by emergency and post disaster recovery actions. Severe damage is often inflicted to the cultural property during disaster response and also during the restoration and remedy phases, due to lack of preparedness in emergency situations and to misdirected actions taken during post disaster emergency and rehabilitation phases. The reasons might be among others the lack of proper attention and funds, the bureaucracy barriers and the hazardous situations, which make Cultural Heritage assets not accessible to rescue teams. Protection of cultural heritage in the face of global change is thus becoming a major concern for decision-makers, stakeholders and citizens in Europe. Research into strategies, methodologies and tools is needed to safeguard cultural heritage against continuous decay. Before irreversible damage is done, concerted actions, based on sound science, are needed to protect, strengthen and adapt Europe's unique cultural patrimony and to allow Member States to maximise and exploit at best their research efforts.
Dekan - Fakultät für Bildung, Kunst und Architektur Leitung - Department für Bauen und Umwelt
Interim. Leitung - Department für Weiterbildungsforschung und Bildungstechnologien - Fakultät für Bildung, Kunst und Architektur