The launch event of the Urban Heritage Climate Observatory (UHCO), the new GEO Community Activity, coordinated by the Greek GEO Office and UNESCO World Heritage Cities, was completed with absolute success on Monday, 26 April 2021.
The Greek GEO Office hosted the virtual two-day launch event and consortium convening for the Urban Heritage Climate Observatory (UHCO), a new Community Activity within the GEO Work Programme in collaboration with UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre.
The kick-off event was attended by more than 200 delegates from around the world. Prominent speakers from UNESCO, the UNFCCC Secretariat, the European Commission's Copernicus program, the Global Covenant of Mayors and the Greek Government emphasized the pioneering role that Earth observation can play in addressing the risks and impacts of climate change on urban heritage, as well as enabling appropriate adaptation measures.
Highlights of launch event
Day 1 (26 April) of the UHCO launch was an open online event with meaningful remarks and keynote speeches given by an impressive mix of key players in the urban, climate change, EO and cultural heritage domains. A few highlights from these enlightening talks and subsequent discussion are included below (find a full synthesis here):
- While urban areas contribute greatly to global emissions, cities are especially vulnerable to climate change impacts, and they play a key role in the path forward, sometimes representing missed opportunities for enhanced impact where urban heritage can serve as means to motivate climate action.
- Earth observations (EO) offer a means to deliver useful and actionable city-level information beyond raw data and are essential for the protection, management and promotion of heritage sites, especially in developing countries.
- UHCO, involving 75 partners from 24 countries and 11 international organisations, aims to serve as a forum connecting EO, climate change and urban heritage, incorporating a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to minimize fragmentation and enhance urban resilience.
- UHCO’s activities exploring, compiling and coordinating EO usage for cultural heritage by way of use cases in UNESCO inscribed World Heritage Cities serve as the starting point, building upon its long-term perspective by exploiting the intersectionality of relevant policy frames and continuing to add to a knowledge base of climate change impacts on urban heritage.
You can also read the highlights document here.