SSKW/CPP Using Technology to Protect Lives and Develop Cultural Understanding: The 12th Spatial Socio-Cultural Knowledge Workshop (SSKW) and Culture in Conflict
The Symposium was hosted by Cranfield Defence and Security, along with the UK MOD’s Defence Geographic Centre and the UK’s Specialist Group Military Intelligence. It combined the 12th International Spatial Socio-Cultural Knowledge Workshop (SSKW) and Culture in Conflict Conference to examine issues of human geography, culture and cultural property protection around the 2019 Theme: ‘Using Technology to Protect Lives and Develop Cultural Understanding’.
Dr Emma Cunliffe spoke to a mixed civilian military audience on behalf of UK Blue Shield, covering work by Dr Paul Fox and Professor Peter Stone, in a presentation titled ‘Cultural Property Protection and the Blue Shield: Developing Methods for 2019‘. With the ratification of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict in 2017, the UK joined more than 130 other signatory states and gave a public commitment to cultural property protection (CPP). However, work by the Blue Shield with both UK armed forces and NATO in 2017 and 2018 demonstrated the need for new methodologies to fully implement those commitments.
Using a risk-based approach, the paper presented two new methodologies developed by the Blue Shield to mitigate the risks to cultural property, achieving compliance with international law and supporting mission success. The first is a suggested procedure to improve the collection of the cultural property data required to achieve mission success. Data needs were examined, comparing data held to the standards obligated in the 1954 Hague Convention, and highlighting the new legal analysis of the Convention’s requirements. Blue Shield then presented the CPP Estimate process – enabling staff officers to tackle CPP as a component part of the overall operational level planning process. The overview highlighted the significant challenges posed by the lack of implementation of the 1954 Hague Convention by signatory states, but taken together and implemented properly, these new methods offer significant potential to mitigate identified risks to cultural property during armed conflict.