Course #4. Cultural heritage component of impact assessment: Methods, challenges, new technologies, and climate change issues





Cultural heritage includes material features that reflect the values, customs, and practices of a people as they adapt and relate to their natural environment. It may consist of remains from vanished cultures, such as archaeological sites and objects; or historical structures, landscapes, and cityscapes which are still in use; or natural features that have been endowed with cultural significance. It is thus recognized as a component of IA with relevance to every society, including indigenous peoples. Resettlement programs, climate, and natural and man-made disasters can have profound effects on cultural heritage. Technological advances, including GPS/GIS, remote sensing, photogrammetry, and digital documentation, enable the identification, description, and management of cultural heritage with breadth and precision.

This course focuses on requirements, methods, techniques, and tools for treating cultural heritage as an integral component of IA and Environmental/Social Management Plans. It will incorporate the importance of integrating cultural heritage within IA to better understand how potential changes in the biophysical environment affect cultural heritage and practices.

On Day One, classroom training covers requirements and procedures for integrating cultural heritage into IA and project plans. Presentations and discussion will include methods and tools that facilitate the identification, documentation, and management of cultural heritage in the development context, with a consideration of the role of climate change. On Day Two, a field trip to a local archaeological museum/site and to Montréal’s historic core provides an opportunity for specific application of the material covered on the previous day. Participants consider a range of challenges and potential actions to ensure the environmental, social, and economic sustainability of Montréal’s cultural heritage in the context of development activities.
Level: Intermediate to advanced
Prerequisites: General knowledge of impact assessment and interest in the cultural heritage component of Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) or Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), and/or with the relationship between Indigenous Peoples/First Nations, cultural heritage, and IA
Language: English
Duration: 2 days (2-3 April)
Price: US$475
Min/Max: 10-20

Arlene Fleming, Cultural Resource and Development Specialist, The World Bank (USA)

Ishanlosen Odiaua, Cultural Heritage and Development Specialist and Independent Consultant (Canada)

Christopher Polglase, Cultural Heritage Management Specialist, Gray & Pape, Inc. (USA)
Special Note:

A laptop or tablet would be useful for effective participation but is not required.


Arlene K. Fleming has advanced degrees in archaeology and telecommunications.  For the past 20 years, she has developed and directed projects focused on bringing new financial resources, technologies and approaches to cultural heritage conservation and management in the context of social and economic development.
As a cultural resource and development specialist at the World Bank since 1997, Ms. Fleming has participated in creating investment projects for cultural heritage and development, including serving as team leader for the Cultural Assets Rehabilitation Project in Eritrea.  Her primary responsibility has been, and continues to be, advising on the policy for safeguarding cultural heritage in Bank-financed projects through the EIA/ESIA process. She created the Physical Cultural Resources Country Profile format, and for more than 20 years, she has trained Bank staff and client country officials on compliance with the policy. Ms. Fleming also has advised the U.S. government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation on management of cultural resources in development projects and conducted staff training. Since 1998, Ms. Fleming has made numerous presentations and published articles on identification, protection and management of cultural resources in the development context.  At IAIA05, she organized the first ever session on cultural heritage at an IAIA conference, followed by sessions at IAIA08, IAIA09, and IAIA11, At IAIA09, IAIA11 and IAIA13, she designed and co-conducted training which was enthusiastically received. She was the co-founder of the Cultural Heritage Section within IAIA which she continues to co-chair, and was a compiler of IAIA Key Citations for Cultural Heritage. Ms. Fleming has participated in cultural and natural heritage conservation and training projects sponsored by UNESCO, ICOMOS, the World Monuments Fund, Preservation Institute: Nantucket, the Getty Conservation Institute, the U.S. government’s departments of defense, agriculture (Forest Service), and interior (National Park Service).  In addition to her focus on development, Ms. Fleming has written, lectured and advised governments on international standards for protecting cultural property during armed conflict, occupation and reconstruction, and on integrating cultural heritage into disaster planning, mitigation and response.  Her current research focuses on the challenges and prospects for cultural heritage management posed by the advent of climate change, mass migration, conflict and weakened state control and financing.

Ishanlosen Odiaua is an architect and Independent Consultant who has worked for several international organisations, including Centre for Heritage Development in Africa (CHDA) based in Mombasa, Kenya, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, World Monuments Fund and the World Bank. A former university teacher, she has over 15 years’ experience in heritage conservation and training. She was recently part of a team that carried out a UNESCO-commissioned impact assessment of the multi-billion dollar Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor project on the World Heritage Site of Lamu, Kenya. While at CHDA, where she was the program coordinator for immovable cultural heritage, Dr Odiaua was responsible for numerous training courses, under the auspices of a UNESCO and ICCROM supported regional programme (Africa 2009) aimed at building up the capacity of African heritage specialists in managing and conserving immovable cultural heritage. One of these training courses was a month-long course on impact assessment as a tool for heritage management, held in Sudan in 2008. In 2012 and 2013, working with the World Monuments Fund, she was responsible for designing and implementation of a conservation training programme for artisans, university students and government technicians for the historic churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia. This also included development of a training strategy for economic empowerment of women artisans in the area. She is familiar with the Environmental Safeguard policies of the World Bank and has provided environmental safeguards support to the Africa and Middle East and North Africa regions of the Bank. She coordinated the preparation of the Africa Periodic Report Action Plan 2012-2017 based on the results of the Second cycle of periodic reporting in Africa to support policy and implementation of the World Heritage Convention in African countries. She has carried out extensive research on the challenges to architectural conservation in West Africa, in view of the massive challenge of large infrastructural development in this region. Dr Odiaua has co-authored publications on African World Heritage and the use of impact assessment as a heritage management tool in Africa.

Christopher Polglase has over 35 years of professional experience in archaeological excavations, historical research, and cultural resources compliance studies. He directs Gray & Pape, Inc.’s Cultural Heritage Practice from a geographic base near Washington, D.C. He has wide-ranging regulatory and research experience, having managed projects and conducted investigations throughout Europe, the Mediterranean, the Caucasus, the Continental United States, the Arctic, Central America, Caribbean, and Africa. He is recognized as an expert on international cultural heritage management programs, most specifically related to major development project impacts on cultural heritage. He has provided senior consultancy support from project planning and approvals through the implementation of ESIA commitments and the development of cultural heritage management plans (CHMP) for the operation of many projects. He also has developed GIS components for clients’ management systems connected into CHMP implementation programs and managed dozens of projects that incorporated satellite imagery analysis, onshore and offshore remote sensing, and management of data using GPS and GIS as everyday tools. Mr. Polglase is currently Co-Chair of the Cultural Heritage Section of the International Association for Impact Assessment and Significance and Valuation Working Group Lead of Leaders in Energy and Preservation (, and Past President of the Council for Maryland Archaeology and member of the Board of Trustees of the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute. He is co-author of a Smithsonian Institution publication on the cultural heritage program for the AGT Pipelines ( and has presented papers on cultural heritage research in the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, Azerbaijan, Chile, Canada, Italy, Tanzania, and Portugal.