COP24: a ROCK-led EU side event on #Culture4Climate

Urban frameworks reinforcing cultural heritage as a driver for climate innovation and sustainability

14th December 2018

UN Climate Change Conference (COP24) - EU Side Event

EU Pavilion (Room Brussels), Katowice, Poland. December 14, 2018, 15:30-17:00 CET


Event at EU Programme of Side Events' website (14 December):


Event title:

Urban frameworks reinforcing cultural heritage as a driver for climate innovation and sustainability





The side event aims to explore how urban sustainability frameworks reinforce the potential and relevance of cultural heritage to drive urban development and climate change mitigation and adaptation. How do the urban sustainability frameworks launched by the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility and now standardised by the International Standards Organization incorporate cultural heritage? Using the commonality established by frameworks, how can cities work together to boost sustainable and inclusive business innovation and entrepreneurship in cultural heritage to raise ambitions in tackling climate change? The Horizon 2020 ROCK project will be presented as an EU flagship initiative in this realm, and a demonstrator of the contribution of cultural heritage to sustainable development in the urban environment via an integrated framework approach.



  • Cécile HOUPERT, project and policy support officer, EUROCITIES

  • Jesus IGLESIAS SAUGAR, international coordinator, Ecopreneurs for the Climate

  • Lucy LATHAM, project manager, Julie’s Bicycle

  • Peter BOSWELL, Special Adviser, International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC), Member, European Federation of Engineering Consultancy Associations (EFCA)-FIDIC Sustainable Development Committee

  • Sandeed SENGUPTA, Global Coordinator Climate Change Portfolio, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

  • Pietro Ceciarini, founder of BackBO and winner of the ROCK hackathon in Bologna



1.Presentations – 30 minutes

  • 10 minutes - How one would expect culture and heritage to be managed in a certified urban management system meeting ISO 37101 requirements and the World Bank's Urban Sustainable Framework principles? Peter BOSWELL

  • 20 minutes - The ROCK project: objectives and results achieved. How does cultural heritage contribute to innovation and sustainability in historic city centres? Presentations from ROCK team:

    • General introduction, objectives and Eurocities contribution - Cécile HOUPERT

    • Eco-entrepreneurship and social innovation opportunities for cultural heritage cities - Jesus IGLESIAS

    • Cultural heritage’s contribution to operational environmental practice - Lucy LATHAM

2.Panel discussion – 45 minutes

  • Panellists: Jesus, Lucy, Pietro, Sandeep, Peter

  • Moderation: Cécile

  • Brief contribution in line with the topic of the event (see below)

  • Q & A from moderator, speakers and audience (see topics below)

3.Wrap up – 15 minutes


Contributions from panellists:

Dr Sandeep Sengupta, Global Coordinator, IUCN Climate Change Portfolio

The role that nature-based solutions play in addressing urban challenges and ensuring urban sustainability, with concrete examples.


Jesus Iglesias, International Coordinator of Ecopreneurs for the Climate

Cultural heritage-driven social innovation and entrepreneurship, within collaborative networks of cities like H2020 ROCK project’s, can substantially contribute to addressing key socio-environmental challenges, like climate change and inequalities, by transforming the economy and driving important cultural shifts, all while preserving and valuing cultural heritage. To mainstream them, the following levers are very effective: enabling regulatory frameworks, innovation/living labs, multi-stakeholder ecosystems, peer-to-peer networks of social enterprises, and city-to-city cooperation schemes; all being addressed by ROCK. Ecopreneurs for the Climate (ECO4CLIM) contributes to the project by providing consulting and support services to boost SME-based, sustainable & inclusive local economies in ROCK’s target areas, the historic city centers of Bologna, Lisbon and Skopje; through activities like hackathons, consultation on financial needs & mechanisms, policy recommendations, or a replication methodology for other cities to follow suit. The winning eco-entrepreneur from the Bologna ROCK hackathon -Pietro Ceciarini- will present his social enterprise -BackBO- as an illustrative example.


Pietro Ceciarini, founder of BackBO and winner of the ROCK hackathon in Bologna

BackBO is a “circollaborative” lab (a circular economy laboratory in a coworking space in bologna), where people transform their disposable packaging into valuable items and are rewarded for it, can help our societies evolve away from the throw-away culture, and contribute to the sustainable development of cities, benefiting the local economy, society and the environment.


Lucy Latham, Julie’s Bicycle

Cultural heritage presents not only an opportunity to connect people with the past, but also to reimagine our collective future.  Many custodians of cultural heritage are already reframing environmental action as an opportunity to demonstrate civic responsibility, increase public engagement, access new funding and investment, and improve health and wellbeing. Julie’s Bicycle supports cultural heritage sites to embed environmental sustainability in values and mission, governance and management, policy, strategy, internal and external communications and partnerships, maintenance and preservation; and investment decision-making and fundraising.

Discussion topics

  • How can we strengthen ecosystems of CH-driven, social innovation & eco-entrepreneurship, bringing on board all key stakeholders around a common, inclusive, post-carbon 2030-2050 vision (in line with IPCC’s SR15 report)?

  • How can we boost city-to-city cooperation to maximize the exchange of best practices and high-impact models on these levers?

  • What are some good practice examples of heritage sites embedding good environmental practice

  • How can city policy and investment support more sustainable cultural heritage?

  • What networks/communities are advocating for environmentally sustainable cultural heritage?

  • Something on tourism bringing economic growth to places but also huge environmental challenges/issues (over tourism) - how to manage?

  • Sustainable adaptive reuse and link with circular economy:

    • What type of business, financial and governance models are needed to foster heritage-led urban regeneration and accelerate the transition towards circular cities? And therefore, how can we enrich existing evaluation tools to capture these circular and regenerative processes?

    • What are the benefits deriving from a stronger link between circular economy and adaptive reuse of cultural heritage in cities?

    • What bottlenecks should we address in order to break sectorial silos, while promoting circularity and creativity in cities?

  • Nature based solutions:

    • How can nature-based solutions (NbS) contribute to addressing climate change in cities, from both a mitigation and adaptation/resilience perspective?

    • NbS as part of cultural heritage

    • Implementing NbS through social innovation & eco-entrepreneurship  

Author: Iglesias Saugar Jesus - ECO4CLIM