IIC, ICCROM, and ICOM-CC agree Joint Commitment for Climate Action in Cultural Heritage


We are pleased to announce that in October 2021, IIC convened three of the major international bodies with an interest in conservation: IIC, ICCROM, and ICOM-CC, to agree a Joint Commitment for Climate Action in Cultural Heritage.

Acknowledging the seriousness of the situation we now face, the agreement mobilizes an international coalition to take swift and practical action towards sustainability and net zero initiatives.

Through our collective relationships with conservators on every continent, we already know how the climate emergency is playing out on the ground - whether it's collections under more pressure from humidity, insects and dust, or whole buildings, towns and cities no longer in harmony with their surrounding environments, but under threat as weather events that used to be once-every-century, now surface every few years. The major damage we already see is dramatically challenging our sense of what is permanent.

We also know that conservators are no different from every other profession, business and community across the planet, as we reconsider our travel, heating - and how we buy and use resources. We need to address these nuts and bolts issues of our everyday work too, to reach net zero as quickly as possible.

But as IIC's President, Julian Bickersteth, comments in the film - we realise that 279 warm words do not in themselves constitute action - this commitment is just the beginning of the necessary transformation of our profession for these times. We look forward to working with IIC members and ICCROM and ICOM-CC colleagues across the world to make the 2020s a decade of significant positive change.

Sustainability and reaching Net Zero - what you can do to support.

IIC as an international body will be inviting members, Fellows, institutions and affiliated IIC Regional Groups , to add their support and commitment to reaching Net Zero by 2050, or even earlier in 2030.  We want our members to feel included and to be part of this action.

Please contact the IIC Office if you would like to receive further information about this initiative  - iic@iiconservation.org 

Full statement: Joint Commitment for Climate Action in Cultural Heritage

The Joint Commitment for Climate Action is a global initiative that unites three of the leading international bodies within the conservation sector for cultural heritage – IIC, ICCROM, and ICOM-CC.  Our joint commitment mobilizes an international coalition of leading sustainability and net zero initiatives with the aim of unlocking the potential in our sector to contribute to the global agenda and action on climate change.

We are in a Climate and Environmental Emergency. Countries and people worldwide, including thousands of conservators and cultural heritage professionals, acknowledge the crisis. We know that urgent action is needed to address the reported unsustainable trajectory towards four degrees of warming. Global goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 and even earlier to 2030 within our sector, can only be achieved through transformative action.

As intergovernmental and international professional organizations working closely with conservators and cultural heritage professionals, it is both our duty and our passion to advocate for cultural heritage. We recognise that the climate crisis represents one of the greatest threats to that heritage in a world with depleting natural resources, growing inequality and social injustice. In response to these challenges, it is incumbent on all of us to adapt, innovate and pioneer change.

The signatories not only commit to tackling carbon emissions and achieving net zero within their own organisations, but also to promoting our collective ambition to align with the UN 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.

The challenges we face, both now and over the next few years, are going to be among the most difficult – and interesting - in our history. We will only make a difference if we choose to work together as a sector.