Earthquakes, landslides, floods, heat waves, fires and other natural and man-made disasters all have a direct impact on cultural heritage. They can seriously damage or even completely destroy monuments, historical and archaeological sites or cultural landscapes. In addition to the endangerment of people who visit those places, the degradation of heritage has a negative socioeconomic impact on local communities and involves a loss of identity-generating values and of cultural diversity.
Climate change, which lies behind the increasing frequency and intensity of some natural disasters, is exposing cultural heritage to new threats where few used to exist and increasing the vulnerability of sites already at risk.
The EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement is helping to protect cultural heritage against natural and technological disasters by promoting risk culture and disaster resilience. It co-operates on a crosscutting basis at the Council of Europe with the Faro Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society in order to protect tangible and intangible heritage as a vector for identity and collective memory that can consolidate and revitalise communities, and also with the European Landscape Convention in terms of protecting cultural landscapes.
European University Centre for Cultural Heritage
The European University Centre for Cultural Heritage is one of EUR-OPA Specialised Centres. It promotes knowledge, management and fruition of cultural heritage through an interdisciplinary approach.