RescueME project launched to protect heritage and landscapes in coastal communities

Horizon Europe funded project will equip communities in Croatia, Germany, Greece, Italy and Spain to protect heritage from climate change

The village of Manarola in the Cinque Terre in Italy is one of the communities taking part in the Horizon project. Image: Bjorn Snelders/Unsplash

To protect shared cultural heritage and landscapes in Europe from climate change and other hazards, ICLEI Europe and various other organisations are partnering in the newly launched project RescueME. The Horizon Europe-funded project will leverage data-driven and community-led approaches to boost collective heritage resilience in coastal communities across Europe.

“Climate change poses a significant threat to communities across Europe, meaning shared cultural heritage and landscapes are vulnerable. “Preserving cultural heritage and landscapes is a critical part of climate change adaptation and disaster risk management”, the ICLEI Europe press release reads.

The global network – made up of 2,500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development – also points out that the dangers of climate change ‘need to be addressed alongside other challenges facing heritage assets, like pollution and over-tourism.’

One-Stop Shop for communities

The project aims to face these problems by establishing so-called Resilience landscape laboratories (R-Labscapes) in European coastal communities. There they will co-create and test cutting-edge RescueME approaches. The communities included are Psiloritis in Creta (Greece); Neuwerk in Hamburg (Germany); Portovenere, Cinque Terre & the Islands (Italy); València (Spain); and Zadar (Croatia).

RescueME aims to equip these communities with supporting tools to protect cultural heritage and landscapes. An Actionable Resilient Historic Landscape (RHL) Framework will guide communities carrying out a just transition on safeguarding shared heritage. At the same time, RescueME partners will develop a Decision Support System, a “One-Stop Shop” for digital tools, and a meta-repository of resilience solutions and culture-focused strategies.

RescueME proposes a call for action to protect our common heritage

Aitziber Egusquiza Ortega, RescueME coordinator

Sustainable future

The project does not merely focus on solving the most imminent problems. RescueME coordinator Aitziber Egusquiza Ortega (of partner organisation TECNALIA Research & Innovation) points out that the protection of cultural heritage and landscapes is a crucial part of achieving a sustainable future.

“In line with both the new EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change and the Historic Urban Landscapes Recommendation from UNESCO, RescueME proposes a call for action to protect our common heritage, broadening the scope of what is considered cultural heritage, triggering action and mobilising resources through the quantification of the impact of climate change in our coastal cultural landscapes at European level”, she states.

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