Beirut Explosion, One Year On

Blue Shield supporting partners in Lebanon

A group of people posing for the photograph, some in military uniforms, with a blue shield plaque in front of the group

The training team and participants for UNIFIL CPP training, July 2021. © UNIFIL

Immediately following the horrendous explosion at the port in Beirut on 4 August last year, the Blue Shield supported the Lebanese NGO Biladi to raise funds to help identify immediate security and safety needs for 600 historic buildings, eight museums, 15 libraries, and 10 art galleries using a specially designed digital Damage Assessment Platform.

Building on a long-term partnership which began in 2013 between the Blue Shield, Biladi, the Directorate General of Antiquities, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), and the UN Peacekeeping Deployment in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the partners were also able to secure and stabilise a number of historic buildings that had been damaged in the blast, including the one housing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

As a result of this long-term partnership, and the securing and stabilising work following the explosion, the Blue Shield signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UNIFIL on ‘Cooperation regarding Cultural Property Protection’ (CPP), and supported LAF in its plan to develop a CPP capability in its Independent Works Regiment (IWR). In July of this year, Blue Shield’s President Professor Peter Stone returned to Beirut for two training courses, organised and facilitated by Biladi, for LAF’s IWR, followed by a training for UNIFIL personnel.

“We anticipate working with all our partners in Lebanon for many years to come learning from them as we carry out the training courses” concluded Professor Stone.