The 1998 Radenci Declaration on the Protection of Cultural Heritage in Emergencies and Exceptional Situations

On the initiative of the International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS) with the participation and support of UNESCO, a seminar was held in Radenci, Slovenia, from 12 to 16 November 1998. Representatives of UNESCO, and of the four non‐governmental organisations that constitute the ICBS: the International Council on Archives (ICA), the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) took part, together with delegates from cultural heritage organisations in the following countries: Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, France, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia and Sweden.

The international seminar was organized to train professional staff to intervene following disasters, gathered participants from 12 countries. These colleagues were drawn from museums, archives, libraries and historic building programs. They spent a week discussing strategies and tactics for dealing with disasters. Case studies on war damage in Bosnia and Croatia, flood damage in Poland, earthquakes in Italy, together with the experiences of Dutch and Swedish military personal, including a former UN commander in Bosnia, provided the raw material for the seminar. At the end a joint statement was drafted: it became known as the Radenci Declaration. It called for the protection, safeguarding and respect of cultural property in both normal and exceptional situations and that this was to be included in national policies and programs. The Declaration recommended the development of strategies to assess and reduce risk as well as to develop response capacity in the event of threats to cultural property. It recommended that institutions caring for cultural heritage should integrate risk preparedness and management in their activities.

The participants, noting the great loss of cultural heritage in recent years due to armed conflicts and natural disasters and international efforts aimed to prevent such losses, examined experiences of mitigation and response in different countries and contexts, agreed on a number of principles, contained in The Radenci Declaration on the Protection of Cultural Heritage in Emergencies and Exceptional Situations (the The 1998 Radenci De

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