Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield (ANCBS)

The Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield (ANCBS) formally merged with the International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS) in 2016 to become one organisation – The Blue Shield.

History

By 2000, the first national Blue Shield committees were being formed. It was soon felt that there was a need to coordinate these committees, and ICBS did not have the capacity. An ICBS Conference was held at the Hague in 2006 on the topic Towards Solid Organisation: Infrastructure and Awareness. The conference discussed the establishment of the Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield (ANCBS), culminating in the signing of the 2006_Hague_Accord, which governed the creation of the ANCBS.

Blue and white shield of the 1954 Hague Convention surrounded by a cerulean blue circle

Logo of the ANCBS

The Hague Accord set down that the ANCBS should:

  • Serve as communication centre, archive and resource base for ICBS and National Blue Shield committees and facilitates communication between the three levels of the Blue Shield movement in a systematic way,
  • Provide a permanent postal address for ICBS and the ANCBS,
  • Promote awareness-raising, capacity-building, preparedness, response and recovery at national and international level,
  • Promote awareness of issues to decision makers and potential funders at all levels,
  • Facilitate creation of national networks in areas where BS committees do not yet exist,
  • Promote bilateral and multilateral assistance systems between committees and emerging committees,
  • Coordinate and disseminate information on international actions,
  • Set up a website containing access points to relevant databases (training, resources, specialists, conferences) with interactive links to other databases,
  • Promote Blue Shield brand by re-labelling projects wherever possible,
  • Undertake fundraising to sustain the costs of the secretariat and to make funds available for agreed projects,
  • Support proactively ICBS and national BS committees in their activities,
  • Assist ICBS in fulfilling its role under the Second Protocol,
  • Promote training for peacekeeping and other forces,
  • Identify “champions” and other key supporters / influencers at international level who can be approached in a coordinated fashion by ICBS/ANCBS,
  • Support, together with ICBS, the creation of database of specialists who could be authorised by UNESCO and combatants.

Process:

  • The ANCBS board would be comprised of representatives of the national committees and observers of the ICBS.
  • ANCBS was authorised to employ a secretariat.

The first committees of the Association were established in

  • Belgium
  • The Netherlands
  • and France

These were swiftly followed by:

  • Poland
  • The Czech Republic
  • Italy
  • and Switzerland

Blue Shield Netherlands and Norway formally invited people to the founding conference of the ANCBS, at the Hague in December 2008. (Read the ANCBS Founding Conference Invitation(pdf) ). Present were committees from Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Chile, the Republic of Macedonia, Netherlands, Norway, and Poland, and the newly established Austrian committee, also founded in 2008.

The committees of the Netherlands, France and the USA stood as the founding committees in the ANCBS Statutes, which were formally witnessed and signed in 2009.

Founding member of the Austrian Blue Shield Committee, Friedrich Schipper, speaks at the 2010 ANCBS meeting, hosted in Vienna, Austria.

Activities

Two men and a woman stood in front of a reclining statue

Caption: Assessment of Memphis by the Director of the Austrian Archaeological Institute at Cairo, Irene Forstner-Müller, Joris Kila and Karl von Habsburg. Blue Shield Fact Finding Mission Egypt: Memphis. 14 February 2011, by Habsburg-Lothringen. This photo is available via Wikimedia Commons.

 

During his time as President of the ANCBS, Karl von Habsburg conducted a number of missions to assessment damage to cultural heritage in sites in conflict areas, including Mali, Libya and Egypt. The ANCBS also coordinated support from its national committees when the archive collapsed in Cologne, Germany, in 2009.

ANCBS held a number of meetings for national committees to come together to discuss their work: some of the reports are available on the website.

These, and a number of other activities, can be found in our News and Activities section.

Today

An Extraordinary General Assembly of the ANCBS (Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield) was held with ICBS (International Committee of the Blue Shield) representatives present in Rome in 2014. It was at this meeting that the ICBS and ANCBS agreed to amalgamate.

New statutes were approved in 2016, and formally agreed at the 2017 general assembly, merging ICBS and ANCBS to become simply “The Blue Shield”.

References

Some of this information is taken from the publication by Krste Bogoeski: Twenty Years Blue Shield (1996-2016)

A number of other publications also discuss the work of ANCBS, available in our Document Library.

Learn more about the International Committee of the Blue Shield

Learn more about the work of our national committees today or see a map showing them around the world

Read about the meeting at the Hague in 2006 where ANCBS was first proposed or read about the 2008 founding Conference of ANCBS, where the Hague Accords were drawn up

Or read the ANCBS Statutes (PDF), or the new Blue Shield Statutes 2016 (PDF)

Read about the 2014 meeting in Rome where it was agreed to merge ICBS and ANCBS

Read about the damage assessment and support missions of ANCBS, or read about the national committee meetings