If cultural property protection is not identified as an issue either before an armed conflict, or when prioritising activity following an environmental disaster, no resources will be allocated to it. No preparations will be made for its protection (such as practicing emergency evacuation in museums), and no military unit will be allocated any responsibility for it. This may well lead to a situation where cultural property is ignored, damaged, destroyed, and/or looted.

Mitigation: It is essential for the heritage sector to try to ensure that cultural property protection is fully integrated and embedded into planning by both politicians and the armed forces – and that resources and responsibilities are allocated to it. At the same time it is essential for the heritage sector to do everything in its own power to plan for disaster risk reduction through, for example: making sure catalogues and inventories are up-to-date and digitised; carrying out regular risk assessments; having, and regularly testing, clear disaster and evacuation plans (including safeguarding the heritage from possible post-disaster damage – for example, from secondary environmental disaster or looting); having good relations and effective communications with emergency organisations and the military; and ensuring all heritage staff are well-trained regarding disaster risk reduction.

Photo: Map showing areas to be spared destruction during World War II: Tubingen. NARA M1944, Records of the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas, 1943-46, via the National Archives and Fold 3.

See key documents on CPP and the military in our Document Library, or see recent reports and documents by armed forces in our Document Library.