XIth World Congress of the OWHC - Sintra 2011: World Heritage Cities and Climate Change


XIth World Congress of the OWHC - Sintra 2011: World Heritage Cities and Climate Change

The World Congress of the OWHC is a unique forum - held every two years, it brings together politicians and professionals who are committed to the preservation of historic cities, particularly those inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Since the first meeting in 1991, this event has enabled participants to discuss topics of common interest, to share experiences, and to learn about new strategies for meeting the challenges associated with the conservation and management of World Heritage Cities. 

The theme of the XIth World Congress is World Heritage Cities and Climate Change.

World Heritage Cities are vibrant living environments with cultural heritage of outstanding universal value. In the face of climate change, however, World Heritage Cities are among the most vulnerable places on Earth to experience rapidly occurring changes.The site-specific nature of climate change impacts make World Heritage Cities ideal laboratories for monitoring changes and testing adaptation and mitigation measures to enhance their socio-economic well-being while ensuring the conservation of their heritage. 

SintraCity governments are at the heart of the action. Having conserved their rich heritage over time, World Heritage Cities hold the keys to understanding long-term evolution of a place from the past and on to the future.As guardians of the world’s heritage, World Heritage Cities face an additional challenge - any action taken at these iconic places can attract considerable attention and influence the adoption of good management practices elsewhere. This XIthWorld Congress aims to create a platform for dialogue and exchange of state-of-the-art knowledge on the issue of World Heritage Cities and Climate Change and its transfer into policy and action.

 To articulate the theme, the organizers of the XIthWorld Congress have developed a programme that includes four keynote presentations, several questions & answers sessions following each presentation, a panel discussion focusing on the adaptation and mitigation measures to be taken by historic cities, a poster session featuring case studies related to the Congress’ theme, and activities for a select group of journalists, who will contribute their views about the relations between heritage and climate change.

Any details can be found on the website: www.sintraovpm2011.com.

Call for Posters 

During the World Congress a Poster Session will be organized to give participants the opportunity to share their experiences. Posters will be published in the conference pre-prints and exhibited during the entire duration of the Congress. The Poster Session will be officially opened in the afternoon of 23 November 2011 followed by presentations of each poster and time allocated for discussion with authors. A limited number of Posters may also be selected as “city snapshots” to complement the key-notes during the morning sessions of the scientific programme on 23 and 24 November 2011. 

This Call addresses all those who are engaged in the conservation and management of a World Heritage City - public servants and administrators, specialized professionals, technical experts and scientists from various fields related to cultural and natural heritage on an interdisciplinary basis.

Posters should reflect on how a City addresses questions of climate change impacts, such as a city’s vulnerability to impacts, how it develops adaptation and/or mitigation measures in conceptual and action-oriented ways, how heritage and culture can be assets for risk management and climate change mitigation. In particular, case studies are encouraged that examine the rationale of choices made for a specific city illustrating how the City can be part of the solution by influencing both the causes and consequences of climate change and thus contributing to national and international strategies to prevent climate change impacts. The three pillars of sustainability, social, environmental and economic - complemented by the fourth “governance” pillar - should be taken into account. Some of the following points and questions may guide you in the choice of your contribution; they are examples and not exclusive: 

Knowing and studying climate change impacts

Creating policies and governance models

Adapting to potential impacts

Communicating and involving citizens

Instructions for submitting abstracts:

The deadline for submission of abstracts for posters is 31 March 2011.

Authors will be informed of the acceptance of their poster no later than 31 May 2011.  

Instructions for submitting posters:

Specific guidelines and an electronic layout template will be provided to the authors of accepted posters.

Posters should strive to be attractive and well organized. It is important that they are self-explanatory, that the text be minimal, and that mainly photographic images and graphics are used 

The dimension of the poster shall not exceed 85 cm in width x 120 cm in height. Authors are asked to submit the poster in electronic version 4 weeks before the Congress in order to allow for timely printing by the host city. Short videos of 2-3 minutes will be accepted as well. 

Please submit your poster abstract via email to: 

Ms. Kerstin Manz
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it




Sintra is situated in the north side of Serra of Sintra and offers numerous sights to visitors. Even the Portuguese kings had their summer residence there. You can find enchanted villas, gardens with rampant plants, fairy-tale castles in the middle of green mountain slopes. This recreational area isn't only popular for tourists but also for inhabitants of Lisbon. Long streams of cars from Lisbon are formed particularly on weekends. Hans Christian Andersen described Sintra as "the most beautiful place of Portugal".

The old town of Sintra is dominated by the Palácio Nacional de Sintra, which can be seen from far away at its gigantic conical chimneys. In the course of the centuries this popular summer residence of the kings got several rebuilding and modifications, so that today it consists of a mixture of different architectural styles. The Sala dos Brasões and Sala dos Cisnes are particularly remarkable.

Wander through the lanes of the place and have a look in the souvenir shops. Send a postcard from the beautiful tiled post-office.