From COP28 to cities, culture’s role in climate action

8 December 2023

Eurocities is among the founding signatories of a Global Call to Action asking the UN Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) to put culture at the heart of international climate policy, planning and action. The network is joining nearly 1500 organisations, leaders and practitioners from a wide array of sectors, ranging from culture to climate and the built environment.

Introduced by Europa Nostra at the first European Heritage Hub project Forum in Venice, the call is urging the UNFCCC to adopt a ‘Joint Work Decision on Culture and Climate Action’ at this year’s COP in Dubai to ensure culture-based solutions to climate change are recognised and implemented.

Today (8 December) 20 Ministers from all regions of the world are meeting for a Dialogue on Culture-based Climate Action and signatories of the call hope they will commit to placing culture as a critical vector of climate action.

How can culture support climate action?

Signatories of the call believe culture has the power to help people imagine and realise low-carbon, just, climate resilient futures. Heritage, including traditional knowledge, strengthens resilience, helps communities adapt to climate impacts, protects places, and offers green, circular and regenerative solutions. The creative sectors shape our lifestyles, tastes and consumption patterns.

The call would like to further encourage a one-year consultative process to address issues related to arts, culture, and heritage through workshops and expert meetings, taking into consideration the vulnerabilities of cultural heritage to climate change and approaches to culture and heritage as drivers of climate action.

Cities already working on culture for climate

Eurocities is proud to add its voice to this call and to highlight the importance of cities as leaders of green transformation. In fact, the Global Call to Action aligns with the already advanced work on the Eurocities Lille Call to Action for low carbon and more inclusive culture, as well as the work on the European Heritage Hub project.

“The arts and culture are powerful levers to support positive changes. There are many ways in which a city can act,” underlined Julie Hervé, Head of culture at Eurocities.

The arts and culture are powerful levers to support positive changes. There are many ways in which a city can act.
— Julie Hervé, Head of culture at Eurocities.

And cities are doing so. By now 42 cities committed to the Eurocities Lille Call to Action with concrete examples. This call is structured around priorities falling under two pillars: the ecological transition of local cultural policies and events, and inclusion in culture and through culture. By signing it, mayors from across Europe commit to implementing at least one principle from each pillar and providing examples of their initiatives each year.

To know more about the call and to have your city sign it, click here.
Marie-Pierre Bresson, Deputy Mayor for Culture at the City of Lille

Ongoing opportunities for cities to make a difference through culture and heritage

Another ongoing opportunity for cities and regions to share their work and further develop their expertise in the green, social and digital transformation within the cultural sector is through the European Heritage Hub project. Until 10 January, cities can respond to the open call ‘Cultural Heritage as an Asset for the Triple Transformation of our Society’ by sharing their local good practices and policies.

Selected applicants will have an opportunity to host peer-learning visits in 2024 and 2025, exchanging expertise with colleagues facing similar challenges. This EU funded pilot project brings together heritage stakeholders and initiatives across Europe to support the transition towards a more sustainable, digital and inclusive society. Through the call, participants can become part of a diverse international community of practice, scaling up innovative, culture-led solutions, as well as adapting and preserving cultural heritage for future generations.

Apply here.


Wilma Dragonetti Eurocities Writer
Iwona Łopacińska Project Coordinator - Culture