Culture and Creativity enter into PreCOP Debates on Climate Action

In the context of PreCOP25 - a preparatory meeting for the Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Climate Change Convention - held in San José, Costa Rica from October 8 to 10, UNESCO organized two panel discussions about cities and sustainable mobility as well as climate action and heritage sites. The Vice-Minister of Culture of Costa Rica, Alejandra Hernandez Sanchez, as well as the Vice Minister of Natural Resources of Costa Rica, Pamela Castillo, participated in the two events respectively.

The panel discussion on ‘Cities and Sustainable Mobility with a Focus on Culture, Gender, Equity and Inclusion in Local Contexts’ was organized in collaboration with the NGOs Green Building Council Costa Rica and the 5C Citizen Advisory Council on Climate Change. Representatives of the UNESCO Creative Cities of Kingston, Jamaica, and Medellin, Colombia, demonstrated how addressing the issues of culture and mobility within an integrated urban planning strategy opens up new perspectives for improving people's well-being while infusing a stronger social and cultural meaning into public spaces. This creative vision of mobility also helps to expand access to culture for the most vulnerable or isolated communities. The panel recommended to the COP25 to promote culture, creativity and efficiency as an engine for cities to stimulate the circular economy including sustainable urban mobility.

The panel ‘Designated UNESCO Sites for Advancing Knowledge and Interdisciplinary Action on Climate’ included the participation of the Executive Director of the National System of Conservation Areas of Costa Rica (SINAC), with whom the panel was organized. Also on the panel were experts on intangible cultural heritage and disaster risk reduction and representatives from the Belize World Heritage Marine Site and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). The discussion highlighted that UNESCO designated sites are unique global observatories for climate change. Along with traditional knowledge, values and practices that make up our living heritage, they provide sustainable nature-based solutions and innovative management for climate action, and contribute to building resilience of local communities and ecosystems by assisting in the fulfilment of the National Determined Contributions (NDCs).

This was the first time that culture and creativity related issues were addressed within the framework of a PreCOP in view of bringing a creative perspective into the development of sustainable mobility and climate action, responding to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11, which targets to make cities and communities more sustainable, as well as SDG 13 on climate action.