Global Conflicts & Emergencies

On this page we will begin to collate information about global conflicts and emergencies affecting tangible and intangible cultural heritage in many parts of the world and the response by ICOM and the global museum community.

If you have relevant information, reports, project case studies responding to cultural heritage affected by conflict or emergencies that we can share on this page, please contact us at

ICOM UK statement on the situation in Palestine and Israel

On behalf of ICOM UK (ICOM’s National Committee in the UK), we express our deepest concern regarding the distressing and ongoing situation in Palestine and Israel – and we are deeply saddened by the loss of innocent lives.  ICOM is an international organisation of museums and museum professionals which is committed to the research, conservation, continuation and communication to society of the world’s natural and cultural heritage, present and future, tangible and intangible.  We stand with the international community in our commitment to peace, respect, and above all, the preservation of life, human rights and the global value we derive from cultural heritage.

You can read ICOM’s statement concerning Israel and Palestine on the ICOM website.

Blue Shield

The Blue Shield is an international, voluntary organisation that was created in 1996 to try to protect cultural heritage during conflict. Today its remit has expanded to include the protection of cultural heritage during and after natural disasters. Blue Shield is the only organisation created and mandated under international law to preserve cultural heritage in such a context.

The International Committee of Blue Shield (ICBS) was established in 1996 by the four “pillar” organisations: ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites), ICOM (International Council of Museums), IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) and ICA (International Council on Archives). CCAAA (Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations) joined in 2005. Under the 2nd Protocol of the Hague Convention ICBS advises the inter-governmental Committee for Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

The International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS) works in partnership with other international bodies to

  • protect the world’s cultural heritage through preventive measures
  • respond to emergency situations that may threaten cultural heritage
  • facilitate international responses to threats or emergencies
  • provide training of experts at national and regional levels
  • work toward protection and safeguarding of cultural heritage against flood, fire and natural disasters

The Association of National Committees of Blue Shield (ANCBS) was established in 2006, by the 2006 Hague Blue Shield Accord which clearly defines the respective roles of the National Committees, ANCBS and ICBS and extends the remit to natural disasters.

The national committees set their own priorities within the overall framework of ICBS/ANCBS and each works slightly differently and different models for membership are used, beyond the representation of the “pillar” organisations.

ICOM Disaster Risk Management Committee

The Disaster Risk Management Committee (DRMC) is a Standing Committee of ICOM dedicated to emergency response for museums. DRMC gathers museum-related professionals from different parts of the world that monitor cultural heritage emergencies and stand ready to provide advice and assistance to international colleagues and their institutions upon request.

Dedicated to initial response after major natural and human-made disasters as well as during and after military conflicts, ICOM-DRMC:

  • Aims at quickly assessing the situation for museums and heritage sites confronted with disasters, in order to immediately evaluate their most pressing needs.
  • Aspires to mainly act in events where the situation surpasses national capabilities for response;
  • Monitors disasters, develops response mechanisms for heritage at risk, and proposes solutions for museums in emergency situations;
  • Supports long term capacity building of expert knowledge and regional networks;
  • Promotes public awareness for heritage in danger;
  • Liaises with the international heritage community by exchanging and sharing information related to emergency situations that put cultural heritage at risk.