Sharm El-Sheikh – The British Council announced £14m support for 17 new projects to protect heritage at risk, including those at risk from climate change.
The announcement was made at a meeting of the International National Trusts Organisation (INTO) at COP27 in Sharm-El-Sheikh where participants will hold discussions under the theme Building Adaptation and Resilience in Sites of Heritage and Culture.
The projects will be funded over two and a half years through the British Council’s Cultural Protection Fund (CPF), in a partnership between the British Council and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
Arts Minister Lord Parkinson said: “From the conservation of thirteenth century manuscripts in Gaza, to preserving buildings in Cairo, it is vital we do our utmost to protect precious global heritage at risk due to climate change and conflict.
“I am delighted that DCMS is once again partnering with the British Council to grant a further £14 million to make sure our shared history endures for generations to come.”
Scott McDonald, British Council Chief Executive, said: “As an organisation connecting young people around the world with the UK, the British Council is acutely aware that tackling climate change is one of their top priorities.
“Because of this we have embedded the theme of responding to the threat of climate change across our work in arts, education and the English language around the world. Through the Cultural Protection Fund we can protect the threatened tangible and intangible heritage assets that define humankind, and use this work as an opportunity for mutual cooperation and learning.”
Among the projects receiving funding are Egyptian NGO Megawra will revive and protect two Islamic monuments in the Historic City of Cairo, where increasing temperatures and excessive flooding are causing significant damage to buildings and infrastructure.
Stephanie Grant, Director Cultural Protection Fund at the British Council, commented: “This is the fund’s first large grants and multi-year announcements since 2018 and we received an unprecedented level of high-quality proposals.
“There’s a crucial need to protect global heritage against the threats of conflict and climate change. The selected projects represent a diverse range of approaches to protecting cultural heritage, but with a shared motivation to safeguard cultural heritage for future generations, tackle urgent global challenges and deliver positive societal and economic impact for local populations.”
In addition, building on research from its Climate Connection programme, the British Council with the University of Cambridge is funding two 12-month research fellowships on cultural relations and climate action, in partnership with the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, India, the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), Bangladesh, and the American University of Cairo (AUC), Egypt. This will fund two early-career researchers from the global south to undertake research fellowships in the UK, based at the University of Cambridge and engaging closely with the British Council (both in the UK and in their home countries) throughout the project.