The session sought discussion on low-carbon development for economic prosperity of rapidly urbanising cities, through strengthening local actions on safeguarding and integrating cultural heritage in urban planning. The discussion was instigated by highlighting achievement and learnings of the EU funded project “Sustainable Tourism and Green Growth of Heritage Settlement” in Lalitpur City, Nepal. The achievements expand beyond reconstruction of over 12 heritage infrastructure damaged by 2015 earthquake, to preservation of intangible heritage linked to establishment of local enterprises to support economic recovery of earthquake affected communities, mostly women and youth, showcasing potential of urban heritage eco-tourism replicable to 50 heritage settlements in Kathmandu Valley and beyond.
This panel looked at the EU SWITCH-Asia project, examining how Nepal worked towards not only physical reconstruction but also cultural heritage restoration following the 2015 earthquake. Switching to responsible production and construction relied on using local resources and crafts to foster projects including eco-tourism, low-carbon transport, and heritage walks, with a particular focus put on women and youth. The panel concluded that rapid urbanisation and living heritage conservation can go hand-in-hand.