CER Regional Hub in Central America

Partner organisation: Casa K’ojom

Since: 2018

Region of action: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, other neighbouring and nearby countries where possible.

Overview: Central America is exceptionally vulnerable to extreme weather events. As the global climate crisis has intensified, cultural heritage in the region has experienced widespread damage and continual existential threat. Central America is also the most urbanised region in the world, and lacking national and regional infrastructures to support heritage protection, combined with low gross awareness of heritage safeguarding needs, create additional human threats to cultural heritage.

Extent and sources of risks: High threat posed by natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes and floods, and urban hazards such as pollution and accidental fires.

Heritage at risk: Archives, libraries, museums, archaeological sites, built heritage, and underwater heritage.

Main goals and activities

  • Develop local and regional heritage institutions’ emergency response mechanisms
  • Train regional stakeholders in risk mapping, mitigation and preparedness, and emergency response
  • Advocate the integration of cultural emergency response into crisis relief efforts
Connect with this Regional Hub

Partner profile

Casa K’ojom is a non-profit documentation centre and museum dedicated to preserving, sharing, and facilitating research into the traditional music of the Maya peoples from Guatemala. Since 1984, founder and director Samuel Franco Arce has conducted extensive fieldwork and built a unique audiovisual archive of cultural practices in Maya communities. In parallel, as a Regional Hub, the institution has worked for many years to make heritage accessible and to inspire communities to take active roles in preserving their heritages.

The Regional Hub in Central America has been invaluable in establishing precedence for how cultural emergency response can be decentralised and enhanced on a regional level, and how communities with the most knowledge about and direct access to heritage are often best placed to serve as heritage custodians. As a Regional Hub, Casa K’ojom has conducted awareness raising activities, engaged innumerable volunteers and heritage professionals, and piloted new methodologies and technologies for heritage mapping and risk monitoring.