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Apart from natural ageing, Europe’s cultural heritage is exposed to many threats such as climate change and pollution, increasing urbanization, mass tourism, human negligence, vandalism and even terrorism. Protection of cultural heritage in the face of global change is thus becoming a major concern for decision-makers, stakeholders and citizens in Europe. Research into strategies, methodologies and tools is needed to safeguard cultural heritage against continuous decay. Before irreversible damage is done, concerted actions, based on sound science, are needed to protect, strengthen and adapt Europe’s unique cultural patrimony.

A concerted research action is needed to allow Member States to maximize and exploit at best their research efforts. Joint Programming provides a framework within which Member States address jointly areas where public research programmes can respond to major societal challenges.

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