Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Heritage and Climate Governance: Potentials and Pitfalls

This pilot project will initiate research on how heritage has been and can be mobilized to address climate change governance in Himalayan Asia. Climate adaptation strategies frequently include the sourcing of heritage, encompassing landscapes, built environments 4 and cultural practices. However, effective climate change governance requires taking seriously the stakes of local communities and the power relations that structure heritage initiatives. 

Erik de Maaker

Research on the links between climate change and heritage has thus far been conducted mainly in Europe and other OESO countries of the ‘global north’. This project will address a significant knowledge gap on the potentials and pitfalls of climate governance through heritage initiatives in the global south with an initial focus on two locations in the western and eastern Himalayas: Ladakh and Sikkim.  

Primary research questions 

●    What is the impact of climate change on natural and cultural heritage in fragile ecological zones of Himalayan Asia? 
●    How do heritage initiatives engage with climate change governance?  
●    What are the changing configurations of conflict and partnership between different stakeholders/actors such as the state, international organizations, local NGOs, private corporations, and indigenous communities impacted by and involved in heritage-related initiatives. 


The outcomes of these pilot projects will feed into a workshop, aimed at defining the scope of a more encompassing multidisciplinary research project in cooperation with Asian and European partners. 

Seed Grant

This project has been granted a Seed Grant by the Global Transformations and Governance Challenges (GTGC) programme

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