Blue Shield International

Following the Second World War, UNESCO adopted the Hague Convention (1954) which created rules to protect cultural goods during armed conflicts. This Convention was the first international treaty aimed at protecting cultural heritage in the context of war and which highlighted the concept of common heritage.

The Blue Shield is the symbol used to identify cultural sites protected by this Convention.  It is also the name of the International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS) that works to protect world cultural heritage threatened by natural and human-made disasters.

A professional committee, an international and independent organisation, the International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS) covers museums and archives, audiovisual supports, libraries, and monuments and sites. It brings together the knowledge, experience and international networks of the following non-governmental organisations dealing with cultural heritage:

  • ICA: International Council on Archives
  • ICOM: International Council of Museums
  • IFLA: International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions     
  • ICOMOS: International Council on Monuments and Sites
  • CCAAA: Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations  

The Purpose of the International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS) is to promote the protection of cultural propery (as defined in the Hague Convention) against threats of all kinds and to intervene strategically with decisionmakers and relevant international organisations to prevent and to respond to natural and man made disasasters.

ICBS promotes good standards through risk management training and awareness-raising campaigns for professionals and the general public. Its unrivalled body of expertise allows the Organisation to collect and shares information on threats to cultural property worldwide, thus helping international players to take the appropriate measures in case of armed conflict or disaster. ICBS intervenes as an advisor and cooperates with other bodies including UNESCO, ICCROM and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICEC). Finally in emergency situations, ICBS encourages the safeguarding and the restoration of cultural property, the protection of threatened goods, and helps the professionals from the affected countries to recover from disasters.

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