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14.12.2015 - UNESCO Venice Office

Sharing knowledge on sustainable energy is of prime importance to World Heritage sites and Climate Change mitigation policies

Wikipedia – Global warming, European winters

A unique educational opportunity to enhance capacity building in sustainable energy is the Winter School on “Sustainable Energy Governance in World Heritage Sites”, to be held from 13-19 December 2015. The event organised at the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy), will convey in a single venue a substantial capital of knowledge developed in World Heritage sites in Europe about sustainability, in terms of education, management and scientific knowledge to be shared and applied regionally and globally.

Sustainable energy is a key priority and a top priority for the United Nations and because it is central to everything we do, and central to everything we want to achieve”, - remarked Secretary-General of the United Nations at the Panel Discussion on Sustainable Energy for All Initiative. Energy is the golden thread that connects economic growth, increased social equity, and an environment that allows the world to thrive.

The United Nations General Assembly declared 2014‑2024 as the Decade of Sustainable Energy for All, underscoring the importance of energy issues for sustainable development. As the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) is about to start, the combat of climate change that nations can cost-effectively can meet their stated objective of keeping a global temperature rise below 2°C shows to be crucial. COP21 represents a benchmark of paramount importance in the international cooperation for a new climate regime.

Over the years, UNESCO has promoted education and international cooperation on renewable energy and, more recently, launched the Climate Change Initiative RENFORUS (Renewable Energy Futures for UNESCO Sites) to enhance and apply the Climate Change’s knowledge base to building green societies, involving the sustainable use of renewable energy sources in UNESCO designated sites.

Within this framework, UNESCO through its Regional Bureau in Venice and the EU-funded project EFFESUS (Energy Efficiency for EU Historic Districts’ Sustainability) are cooperating by merging their resources and comparative advantages and jointly organizing a winter school on sustainable energy governance in World Heritage sites.

Experienced lecturers have been invited to, over one week, highlight methodologies linking advanced technologies and traditional knowledge in the fields of energy efficiency and renewable energy with the preservation of integrity and authenticity of urban World Heritage sites. A broad array of narratives from UNESCO World Heritage sites will constitute the backbone of the desk-based part of the school; the governance level will be investigated in addition to renovation and adaptation of physical structures.

The school lessons will further integrate energy into the planning and management systems of World Heritage sites and the way to accommodate contemporary knowledge to traditional buildings. The School will comprise team working sessions and on-site exercises using the World Heritage site of ‘Venice and its Lagoon’, including some of its enlisted buildings, as a real demonstration case.

Following a joint selection by UNESCO and EFFESUS, target beneficiaries of the school will be a multidisciplinary group of representatives from the management authorities of enlisted European properties, including South-East Europe and the Mediterranean area, and postgraduate researchers.

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