In October 2011 the National Trusts of the world met in Victoria, BC, Canada for an international conference aimed at sharing best practices, discussing world issues and planning the best steps forward for INTO over the next several years. A prime theme of the conference was the importance of intangible heritage. The values of language, dance, culture and traditional ecological knowledge.
The meeting produced the Victoria Declaration on the Implications for Cultural Sustainability of Climate Change. The Declaration points to the often overlooked impacts of climate change on communities, even entire nations though sea level rise, desertification, floods and fire.
The Declaration urges the global community, including in particular its leaders, to accept that Climate Change has significant detrimental impacts on cultures. That destruction of culture is a fundamental breach of the principle of intergenerational equity and thereafter urges them to modify their actions and strategies.
The Declaration concludes that:
“If the threat of climate change is largely described in terms of impacts on the physical environment, then the prospect of achieving global consensus for climate change action will always be undermined. However, if the threats of climate change are also couched in terms of culture – of societal values – then there is likely to be greater responsiveness across the global community. Put in terms of cultural identity, diversity and sustainability, the path to wider community understanding and so support for climate change action (be that mitigation or adaption) should be more achievable. There will be engendered a greater willingness to embrace essential reforms.”
The Declaration was unanimously endorsed by the delegates and has become an important international paper having been taken by INTO representatives to subsequent COP17 and COP18 meetings, distributed widely and has formed the basis for several international initiatives. INTO – THE VICTORIA DECLARATION –.