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Covid19 Impact and Policy Bulletin
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Covid19 Impact and Policy Bulletin 6: Culture and the Climate Emergency

In our sixth WCCF COVID-19 Impact and Policy Bulletin we looked at how COVID-19 is affecting climate action plans for culture. We found three main areas of impact.

Covid19 Impact and Policy Bulletin

In our sixth WCCF COVID-19 Impact and Policy Bulletin we looked at how COVID-19 is affecting climate action plans for culture. We found three main areas of impact.

Positive and negative impacts:

  • Lockdowns have reduced industrial activity and travel, reducing greenhouse gases and pollutants. There has been less pressure on ecological systems, as well as increased engagement with nature during the pandemic.

  • However, there is increased use of single use plastic and medical waste, and risks of carbon emissions rebound as industries return to ‘business as usual’.

  • Longterm behavioural changes are not yet clear – there is an opportunity for governments to shape and support positive behavioural and attitude shifts.

Intensified challenges for cities and culture:

  • Competing priorities with limited resources has impacted on environmental action and forward planning.

  • Missed opportunities to embed green recovery in COVID-19 responses.

  • Culture is facing a crisis of survival, with severe impacts of lockdowns and loss of work across the sector. With reduced workforce, internal capacity and environmental skills have been lost.

New policy challenges:

  • How can policy makers find a common ground between mainstream economic restart objective and climate action?

We identified five priorities for cities in the recovery period:

Limit emissions rebound

Drive collaboration

  • Recovery provides opportunities for culture to collaborate

  • Cultural policy must align with local social and environmental strategies; urban design; education and distance-learning; digital services; tourism; employment and reskilling

  • This also presents opportunities to attract different types of funding

Support transition

  • Seize opportunities for growth in the low carbon and circular economy

  • Cultural organisations can maximise the opportunities of a ‘green recovery’ with support and capacity building

Align funding

  • Cultural recovery funding must be linked to environmental targets

  • Raise awareness of the value of culture among other public and private investors

  • Cultural spaces and programmes can influence audiences’ environmental behaviours

Revive engagement

  • Capture public interest in the transformational climate agenda

  • Culture provides many opportunities for targeted engagement and community building

  • Many cultural leaders are looking to go beyond ‘recovery’ and contribute to transformation on a more systemic level

Download the full report below. With thanks to our research partner Julie’s Bicycle.

Culture and the Climate Emergency

5 priorities for world cities in the post-COVID recovery period. We looked at how COVID-19 is affecting climate action plans for culture.

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By BOP Consulting

Paul Owens

Co-Founder and Director

Paul Owens is a leading international advisor and practitioner in cultural policy and creative economy. He is Co-Founder of BOP, and alongside his fellow directors he has pioneered now well-established methods to measure the impact of cultural policy. 

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Paul Owens

Paul Owens

Co-Founder and Director

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