A conference organised by the Greek government in Athens on the impacts of climate change on cultural heritage was addressed by Maltese Minister for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change José Herrera, under the auspices of the UNESCO, ahead of the United Nations Summit next September, according to a press statement issued by the government’s Department of Information (DOI).
Mr Herrera, accompanied by the Ambassador of Malta to Greece Joseph Cuschieri, explained that Malta has established a comprehensive legislative framework — the Cultural Heritage Act — in order to preserve the symbolic sites, cultural heritage and identity. Moreover, he noted that Maltese national agency for museums, cultural heritage and conservation practice Heritage Malta works on ensuring continuous conservation, restoration and management of cultural sites, including museums, historical sites and buildings, while effectively monitoring and reporting the impacts of natural effects on the heritage sites.
In addition, the minister stated that the conference offered the opportunity to conceptualise plans and learn more about how to fight the threat of climate change. He also underlined that the world is experiencing more frequent extreme weather phenomena, which is causing damages to different sites.
Thus, with the increasing incidence of climate change already felt through various sporadic extreme climatic events around the world, measures should be taken to adapt to climate change and protect infrastructures, natural and cultural assets, as the DOI press release says.
Mr Herrera continued explaining that through the effective use of European Union funds, Malta is aiming to ensure the protection of archaeological sites through the construction of walkways and protective tents, the sheltering of ancient temples from direct rainfall, solar radiation and ground humidity so as to prevent potential damages, and reducing the risks of degradation while stabilising the environmental conditions to which they are exposed to.
The minister said also that Malta has recently set up an Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit to preserve marine sites and in order to make underwater areas accessible to the public, while preserving their history and culture.
In conclusion, he added that it is the duty of policymakers to protect such a public good and to design effective policies to address the issue.