The United States Committee of the Blue Shield was formed in 2006 in response to recent heritage catastrophes around the world. The name Blue Shield comes from the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, which specifies a blue shield as the symbol for marking protected cultural property. The International Committee of the Blue Shield and its affiliated national committees work together as the cultural equivalent of the Red Cross, providing an emergency response to cultural property at risk from armed conflict.

Mission and Goals

Mission

The U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield is a charitable nonprofit organization committed to the protection of cultural property worldwide during armed conflict.

Goals:

  • Coordinate with the U.S. military, U.S. government, and other cultural property organizations to protect cultural property worldwide during armed conflict.
  • Promote U.S. legal protections for and commitments to cultural property, consistent with the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its Protocols.
  • Prepare and maintain a database of volunteers to advise and assist in the protection of cultural property worldwide damaged or threatened by armed conflict.
  • Raise public awareness about the importance of cultural property as the shared heritage of all humankind.
  • Provide advice and assistance to cultural organizations in emergency planning for situations involving armed conflict.


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What is the Blue Shield?

The Blue Shield is the cultural equivalent of the Red Cross. It is the symbol specified for marking protected cultural property in the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

It is also the name of the international committee set up in 1996 to work to protect the world's cultural heritage threatened by wars and natural disasters, the International Committee of the Blue Shield.

Organizational Structure

The U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield is one of many national committees organized under the principals of the International Committee of the Blue Shield. back to top

International Committee of the Blue Shield

The International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS) covers museums, archives, libraries, and monuments and sites. It was created by and brings together the knowledge, experience and international networks of four organizations dealing with cultural heritage: ICOM (the International Council of Museums), ICOMOS (the International Council of Monuments and Sites), ICA (the International Council on Archives) and IFLA (the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions). Another organization, CCAAA (Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations) was also recently added.

National Committees of the Blue Shield

In May 2007, the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield was formally recognized as a Blue Shield national committee by the International Committee of the Blue Shield. Blue Shield National Committees are important to the success of the ICBS mission. Within each of their own countries they bring together the different cultural property professions, local and national government, the emergency services, and the armed forces. They provide a forum to improve emergency preparedness by sharing experiences and information. They provide a focus for raising national awareness of the threats to cultural heritage and promote the ratification and implementation by national governments of the 1954 Hague Convention.

For more information on national committees and their requirements, go to http://icom.museum/icbs_requirements.html

The representatives from ICBS and National Blue Shield committees met in The Hague on September 27th and 28th, 2006 to discuss and agree on the most effective way to support the new International Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, a twelve-member intergovernmental committee to oversee the implementation of the Hague Convention and the Second Protocol. At this meeting the parties created and signed the 2006 Hague Blue Shield Accord agreeing to the creation of a new body, the Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield. For more information go to http://www.ifla.org/VI/4/admin/icbs-accord28-09-2006.htm back to top