● Project to address climate change threats to natural and cultural heritage sites around the world
● New global effort aligns with Manulife’s Impact Agenda, including an ambition to accelerate a sustainable future
December 8, 2022
Manulife today announced a new partnership with the National Geographic Society to safeguard several historical heritage sites from the impacts of climate change and to protect the physical, and financial well-being of the communities that depend on those sites for their livelihood.
Climate change impacts including flooding, heatwaves, and sea level rise can lead to damaged ecosystems and infrastructure, yet these impacts differ between locations and communities. The new Preserving Legacies: A Future for Our Past project will help communities share knowledge and create plans to safeguard their heritage sites and the values that these sites hold. The project’s initial scope comprises ten heritage sites around the world, many of which are a major source of economic resilience for communities.
Preserving Legacies is a collaborative project between local communities, site management teams, and the International Council on Monuments and Sites, brought together by National Geographic Explorer Victoria Herrmann. This project draws upon scientific and local knowledge to find sustainable and culturally appropriate solutions to the long-term preservation of iconic cultural, heritage sites. These teams will produce downscaled climate change impact models, climate literacy programs, and climate adaptation plans to ensure that these sites, and the values they embody, survive for future generations. As part of Manulife’s Impact Agenda, this project will also focus on network building between sites, where knowledge sharing will be key to developing climate change adaptation plans.
“With this new partnership between Manulife and the National Geographic Society, we will work together to increase access to heritage sites and transform conservation as a field to meet the challenges of a climate-changed world,” said Victoria Herrmann, National Geographic Explorer. “Our ambitious approach to addressing the critical issues around climate change will lead to tangible protection of cultural heritage sites and meaningful community impact.”
“As a health and wealth company with a 130-year history serving customers, colleagues, and communities across the globe it’s important we work to protect our environment and drive inclusive economic opportunities to create a more even playing field for all,” said Sarah Chapman, Global Chief Sustainability Officer, Manulife. “Through our partnership with National Geographic, we have an opportunity to equip communities throughout the world with the tools to better anticipate worsening climate impacts and safeguard the sites for the future.”
Using local weather data, climate models give every historic site a way to visualize how much flooding, heatwaves, sea level rise, and changing seasonality will threaten their sites, values, and livelihoods in different warming scenarios. This allows community leaders and site managers to answer critical questions about which climate impacts they should plan for and when they are likely to experience them. This project will also support continued community adaptation through peer mentoring programs and educational materials to inspire and engage future generations.
The ten heritage sites included in this project include:
● Petra, Jordan
● Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras
● Angkor Archaeological Park, Cambodia
● Border Fields, USA and Mexico
● Historical Mosque City of Bagerhat, Bangladesh
● Nan Madol, Micronesia
● Levuka, Fiji
● Koutammakou, the Land of the Batammariba, Togo and Benin
● Sceilg Mhichíl, Ireland
● Port, Fortress, and Group of Monuments at Cartagena, Columbia
This new global effort supports Manulife’s Impact Agenda, which aims to build a better business to better the world by making decisions about the future of the firm’s business, rooted in the belief that our collective actions drive meaningful change. To learn more about the commitments made by Manulife through its Impact Agenda, and to track progress against our goals, visit Manulife.com/Impact.