Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

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  • Social platform on the impact assessment and the quality of interventions in European historical environment and cultural heritage sites

The platform should bring together the research communities, heritage professionals, public and private actors and policy makers at local, regional, national and international levels concerned with the impact assessment and quality of interventions in historical environment and cultural heritage sites in Europe. Tangible and intangible heritage, cultural landscapes and seascapes, heritage memory preservation, cultural identities of groups, communities and minorities, legislation, guidelines and codes of ethics and governance should be considered. The platform should map existing and emerging problems, practices and policy gaps relating to the impact assessment and the quality of interventions in historical environment and cultural heritage sites in Europe. It should overview past and ongoing research and collect, compare, analyse and promote best practices from Europe and beyond, thus becoming a major reference for transnational and interdisciplinary networking in this policy area. Education and awareness raising programmes for specialised communities and the public in general should be considered.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 1.5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

The way cultural heritage is preserved and enhanced is a major factor defining Europe's identity and its place in the world. Jobs are created by the conservation, management and promotion of cultural heritage and these activities contribute to sustainable growth and social cohesion. High quality interventions in cultural heritage and cultural landscapes contribute to local communities’ well-being and to the development of sustainable cultural tourism. On the other hand, examples of low-quality interventions in the historical environment and cultural heritage sites give rise to complaints from experts and citizens. Low-quality interventions may even damage irreplaceable historical elements, their environment and related intangible heritage, identities and social practices. Cases where EU funds (e.g. structural funds) are used for such low-quality interventions may have a negative impact on citizens' perception of the actions supported by the EU. The European Parliament has urged the Commission to “include in the guidelines governing the next generation of structural funds for cultural heritage a compulsory quality control system"".[[European Parliament Resolution ""Towards an integrated approach to cultural heritage for Europe"", 2015.]] A factor hampering the positive outcomes of interventions and the effectiveness of the EU support actions is the lack of a common understanding of the requirements for the quality of restoration and also of all other interventions in the historical environment and cultural heritage sites at European level. Lack of shared standards for the holistic impact assessment – regulated by the Environmental Impact Assessment and the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directives – of these interventions also plays its role in this area.

The action will facilitate the uptake and dissemination of best practices, thereby contributing to the development of strategic and integrated European and international policies and interventions. It will contribute to the coordination of a variety of stakeholders and will develop toolkits and recommendations for them. The platform will formulate recommendations and an action plan for future European action aiming towards harmonised impact assessment and intervention quality standards. It will also build a consensus on future needs and will support the EU in developing an innovative and focused research agenda on cultural heritage and on the quality of interventions in historical environment and cultural heritage sites in Europe.

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