Innovation Acceptance Unit

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft new member of Climate Heritage Network

News | Leipzig /

Fraunhofer IMW associated through Research Alliance Cultural Heritage


The Climate Heritage Network is pleased to announce 31 new members of the Network. The announcement was first made on February 15 at a meeting of the network’s International Steering Committee.

Fraunhofer is one of the new members, representing 24 Fraunhofer Institutes as part of the Research Alliance for Cultural Heritage. The Innovation Acceptance Unit of Fraunhofer IMW has been working on the topics of cultural heritage and climate change for more than 10 years. Projects like Climate for Culture or KERES address the impact of climate change on built heritage and historical gardens, and include research on preventive measures and emergency management. Other projects like EFFESUS or SPARCS focus on the improvement of energy efficiency up to positive-energy districts in (historic) cities as a contribution to climate protection.

With the project YoU2, the team of Fraunhofer IMW applies this research profile to the historic city of Chiang Mai in Thailand to establish sustainable development paths at the intersection of cultural heritage protection, energy management and smart city development.

What is the Climate Heritage Network?

The Climate Heritage Network connects organizations around the world that share a common commitment to strengthening the use of arts, culture, and heritage to help communities tackle climate change and achieve the ambitions of the Paris Agreement. CHN Members include government boards, offices, ministries at all levels, site management agencies, Indigenous People’s Organizations, as well as NGOs, universities, businesses, and other organizations.

The immense power of arts, culture and heritage to advance just and transformative climate action often goes untapped. The Climate Heritage Network was launched in October 2019 in Edinburgh, Scotland by over 70 arts, culture and heritage organizations committed to unlocking this potential. The Network is expanding rapidly, as the addition of these new members shows.  

The Climate Heritage Network aims to unite diverse actors across the arts, culture and heritage spectrum as part of the climate action movement. Ms. Suwaree Wongkongkaew, Director of the Chiang Mai City Arts & Cultural Centre and a CHN Steering Committee member, described the CHN’s philosophy this way:

“In Chiang Mai the connection between our culture, our life, and our environment is a mutual relationship, a strength, and inseparable. In the current situation, when we face climate problems that are rapidly escalating, the power of arts and culture can be used. We are working as a coalition to use cultural power to restore and protect the environment and cross the boundaries of familiarity, no longer separating government or general public.”

The new CHN members reflect this diversity and include government bodies at national, regional and local levels; universities and research organizations; cultural institutions; NGOs; and architecture and design firms. Climate change is a global phenomenon. The CHN works to connect groups around the world and to promote solidarity with communities on the frontlines of climate change. The 31 new members were drawn from all of the CHN’s five regions: Africa and the Arab States, Asia-Pacific, Europe and CIS, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North America.

One hallmark of the CHN is the members’ commitment to working collaboratively. In 2019 the CHN released its first action plan at an event held in Madrid at COP25, the 2019 UN Climate Summit. Dubbed the Madrid-to-Glasgow Arts, Culture and Heritage Climate Action Plan, the plan’s release kicks off a year of culture-based climate action that will culminate in November 2021 at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland.

The plan’s activities at COP26 will be implemented by volunteer working groups made up of CHN members. Dr Ewan Hyslop, Head of Technical Research & Science at Historic Environment Scotland and a Co-Chair of the Climate Heritage Network describes the value of the CHN approach this way:

“Successfully transitioning to a low-carbon future and adapting to environmental changes already underway requires individuals, organizations, governments and communities to work together. The Climate Heritage Network provides an opportunity to develop new and creative partnerships, strengthen those that already exist and pool expertise and knowledge from all corners of the world. Together, we can demonstrate what meaningful climate action looks like, and share our experiences and perspective with others.”

Climate change is one of the most significant and fastest growing threats to people and their cultural heritage worldwide. 2021 will be a critical year for climate action. The CHN aims to foreground the cultural dimensions of global climate action and to create a roadmap that will allow every arts, culture and heritage-related organization to do its part. The new members added today contribute immeasurably to that cause.