Disasters threaten lives and livelihoods globally. They also lay bare the vulnerabilities of even long-protected cultural heritage and tourism (CHT) assets around the world. Nepal saw more than 600 of its historic buildings in 16 districts heavily damaged from the 2015 earthquake. Recent earthquakes in Italy, Mexico, and Myanmar have left famed CHT sites damaged and destroyed, while floods, landslides, and a host of other hazards continue to put the irreplaceable at risk.
Japan's extensive experience in integrating disaster risk management (DRM) in CHT investments offers numerous lessons for countries seeking to safeguard priceless cultural treasures and drivers of economic opportunity. Good practices include:
- DRM measures integrated into site investments to reduce the risks from earthquakes, fires, and floods, among other hazards;
- Community engagement approaches for risk identification and preparedness drills at and around CHT sites; and
- Measures to consider and integrate CHT aspects in disaster response and recovery efforts.
The World Bank Disaster Risk Management Hub’s Knowledge Program on Resilient Cultural Heritage and Tourism is working with partners, including the Government of Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs (ACA), Prefectures of Hyogo and Kyoto, UNESCO, and Ritsumeikan University, to help countries engage key knowledge, expertise, and approaches from Japan and globally to tackle these challenges.