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The PROCULTHER-NET Capacity Building Programme

By project PROCULTHER-NET staffPublished on

PROCULTHER-NET launches an advanced training module for providing specialized knowledge on how to deal with cultural heritage protection in emergencies in line with the European standards. This is addressed to disaster risk managers and cultural heritage protection experts from European Union Member States and Union Civil Protection Mechanism Participating States

In June 2022, PROCULTHER-NET conducted a survey with the objective of collecting contributions, expectation and concerns from stakeholders involved in the protection of cultural heritage at risk of disaster. The analysis of the results facilitated the mapping of stakeholder interest in the capacity-building process to be carried out by the project within Union Civil Protection Knowledge Network, also contributing to the collection of information and feedback on the themes and approaches to be favoured by the PROCULTHER-NET thematic community.

Indeed, the survey revealed that although the great majority of respondents has a strong interest in the development of training sessions dedicated to cultural heritage protection, considered one of the most appropriate ways to ensure a good level of knowledge exchange, only one third of the countries covered have training initiatives in place on this topic. In addition, the project Feasibility Study showed how important it is to undertake training and exercise activities focusing on issues such as the legal framework, policies and planning, international exchange and support, human resources but also from the point of view of the objectives of the Knowledge Network, which, according to 81% of respondents, should play a role in providing training programs on cultural heritage and disaster risk management.

This is the ratio behind the PROCULTHER-NET capacity building activities: in March 2023 the Project is proposing an advanced training programme aimed to increase UCPM interoperability standards by reinforcing know-how transfer and learning processes on the inclusion of cultural heritage protection in the disaster risk management phases at European and national level. The training is addressed to cultural heritage protection and disaster risk management actors from Union Civil Protection Mechanism Member and Participating States – UCPM MS/PS and aims at reinforcing knowledge and skills to allow cascading know-how transfer on issues related to the protection of cultural heritage at risk of disaster in line with the European standards. In particular, at the heart of this initiative is the intention to increase the capacity of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism to support, upon request, Countries overwhelmed by disasters also in the field of cultural heritage protection. Furthermore, the training has also the objective of ensuring an effective exchange between all participants and promoting the definition of synergies able to reinforce the basis of a thematic community focused on the protection of disaster-prone cultural heritage.

The course programme will be structured on the document built on the lessons learnt and best practices adopted by the PROCULTHER project (1) in this field: the “Key Elements of a European Methodology to Address the Protection of Cultural Heritage during Emergencies” that provides for a set of elements to advance preparedness and response activities to include cultural heritage safeguard in all disaster risk management processes. The training module will deal with issues such as the institutional and legal framework for civil protection and cultural heritage, as well as practical and operational issues related to missions within the UCPM framework, providing an in-dept focus on techniques and measures for securing cultural heritage. Finally, the validation of the course will be ensured, together with the participation of a practical drill, by a final multiple-choice test consisting of questions related to the whole training programme.

In order to enable the widest possible participation, two identical cycles of the course are organised: the first will be held from 6 to 10 March, the second from 20 to 24 March 2023. The training course consists of 5 face-to-face days, each lasting about 8 hours, and will take place at the International School of Higher Education - SIAF located in Volterra (Pisa, Italy) with some additional hours conducted in virtual mode. PROCULTHER-NET project will cover travel, accommodation and subsistence expenses for all participants.

PROCULTHER-NET will send invitations to the UCPM MS/PS focal points and each national system will be asked to propose the participation of two experts coming from the field of disaster risk management and cultural heritage protection or, in alternative, of an expert able to cover both areas.

(1) The Protecting Cultural Heritage from the Consequences of Disasters – PROCULTHER project was co-funded by DG-ECHO in the framework of the UCPM and implemented from January 2019 to December 2021 by a Consortium made of the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers- Civil Protection Department (Italy), as coordinator, the Ministère de l’Intérieur - Direction Générale de la Sécurité Civile et de la Gestion des Crises - DGSCGC (France), the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Regional Government of Castilla y León - JCyL (Spain), the Ministry of Interior-Disaster and Emergency Management Authority - AFAD (Turkey), the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property - ICCROM and the Fondazione Hallgarten – Franchetti Centro Studi Villa Montesca - FCSVM, with the participation of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Europe.