The UP Museums have heeded the call for action and joined this year’s Intellectual Property Day (26 April 2020) by becoming signatories to the call on the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to focus on innovation for a greener future.
The UP Museums as members of ICOM-SA support Paris-based ICOM in advocating that climate change is a responsibility of museums to generate awareness, and this year they have chosen the theme, climate justice as a key topic under the umbrella of the International Museums Month for #IMD 2020. This is also reflected in the Artwork 4 the Week, posted by the UP Museums in connection with #IMD 2020.
Climate justice is more encompassing than only the notion of global warming. Museums, libraries, heritage sites and other cultural institutions are suffering the grave consequences of fires, floods and disasters leading to climate change. Damage to, or disappearance of, any heritage impoverishes the heritage of all nations. The need for action is urgent and in line with sustainable development goals as it involves the treatment of finite natural and cultural resources that constitute our heritage. To better understand how this theme relates to IMD 2020, it is essential to refer to the principles of climate justice, as identified by the Mary Robinson Foundation:
- Respect and protect human rights
- Support the right to development
- Share benefits and burdens equitably
- Ensure that decisions on climate change are participatory, transparent and accountable
- Highlight gender equality and equity
- Harness the transformative power of education for climate stewardship
- Use effective partnerships to secure climate justice
According to Dr S Tiley-Nel, Head of the UP Museums, “the university museums want to be part of the world community to raise awareness of climate, heritage and intellectual property as we know climate change won’t wait”. Today, the survival of the world’s cultural heritage is at stake in the face of the ever-changing increasing threat of climate change. ICOM with key partners such as WIPO and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL), the International Council on Archives (ICA) and Society of American Archivists (SAA) have drafted a call for action to encourage all copyright decision-makers to take action. At the national and international level, to ensure that museums, libraries and archives can preserve cultural heritage and common knowledge before it disappears due to the devastating effects of climate change.