2019 Yearbook

R E V I E W A N D A N A L Y S I S 21 HERITAGE RISK MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES IN THE EU INGVAL MAXWELL E UROPE’S CULTURAL heritage is under increasing threat from the effects of natural disasters often caused by climate change, and from hazards caused by human activity such as armed conflict. These threaten not only the physical structure of heritage, but also its social, economic, historic and cultural value. The loss of heritage can have a profoundly negative effect on a region’s tourism, economic prosperity and cultural identity, so the research, development and implementation of pan-European strategies to ensure its protection are vital. To help determine the best way forward, in 2014 the Council of the European Union requested that the European Commission conduct a 12-month study into existing policies and strategies of risk assessment and prevention for safeguarding cultural heritage from the effects of natural disasters and threats caused by human action. The result was the 2018 report Safeguarding Cultural Heritage from Natural and Man-made Disasters: A comparative analysis of risk management in the EU . In June 2016, the European Commission also published a five-year action plan on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 (Sendai Framework), which is the current global agreement on disaster risk management, adopted by the United Nations in 2015. The action plan aimed to create a more systematic disaster risk-informed approach to protecting cultural heritage and promoted the need to integrate it in the development of national disaster risk reduction strategies and policies. The 2018 European Commission report on safeguarding cultural heritage promoted the integration of cultural heritage as a new focus area within the Sendai Framework and encouraged a collaborative approach to protecting heritage across national platforms as outlined later in this article. STUDY OBJECTIVES The 12-month study that led up to the publication of the 2018 European Commission report focused on three specific objectives to help determine which areas still need to be addressed in terms of the risk management and the protection of cultural heritage in EU strategies and policy. The first objective was to provide an overview of available risk assessment and prevention information at EU and international level. The second was to map existing strategies and management tools in all member states for the disaster risk management of cultural heritage. And finally, it was to assess and identify strengths and weaknesses in European cultural heritage risk management measures and to make recommendations to improve them. The study took into account a range of factors relating to risk management, including threats posed by and stemming from climate change – with particular attention given to issues caused as a result of human activity - flooding, landslide, earthquakes, and other human driven issues like armed conflict. STUDY FINDINGS Within the priorities identified by the Sendai Framework, the study consistently found key gaps where cultural heritage issues were not being taken into account. The requirements were reported on as summarised below, and subsequent recommendations were put forward. Policy requirements The study identified a need for greater understanding transnationally that cultural heritage requires protection from a wide range of potentially damaging scenarios. Long-term cultural heritage measures and Managing fire risk: Duff House in Banff, Scotland, is the first major historic building to be fully sprinkler protected in a retrofit. (All photos: Ingval Maxwell)