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New game aims to protect the cultural heritage of marginalised communities against disasters

A game has been developed to help people understand how cultural and natural heritage can be used for disaster risk reduction and sustainable development.

Experts have created inSIGHT to help better understand the impact that hazards such as earthquakes and tsunamis have on local culture in rural areas.

Launched by the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), the main aim of the game is to give a voice to marginalised communities who are not often consulted when developing disaster risk reduction strategies.

The game allows a wide range of community members to identify risks and think about local priorities for risk reduction – elements that are important or unique to their area.

The outcomes are then presented to local governments, organisations or individuals, who can act on the information when considering disaster risk reduction measures for that specific community, ensuring that the views of the most marginalised community members are also considered.

A trial held in Racha, Georgia, last year, found that the government’s wood-cutting ban, aimed at protecting against deforestation, had major implications for craftspeople, as well as on housebuilding and winemaking practices, on which the area strongly relied.

Loughborough University’s Dr Ksenia Chmutina devised the concept and methodology for the initiative.

She said: “The game helps us understand the role of cultural heritage in everyday life and therefore its role in capacities that people have to deal with disasters.

“For instance, in Racha, where we did the case study, one of the most prominent intangible heritage is winemaking – it provides not only financial capital, such as attracting tourists, but also a collective identity and social cohesion.

“Given how remote the region is, it is the social ties that people rely on in times of disasters, as the governments do not provide much support.

“It also keeps younger people employed – otherwise they would leave to the urban areas and the regional economy would collapse.”

ENDS

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 20/176

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