The main objectives of ICBS were to facilitate international response to threats or emergencies through co-operation between ICBS and national organizations; to propose its services in terms of expertise; to encourage safeguarding and respect for cultural property; to promote standards for risk preparedness; and to train experts at a national or regional level to prevent, control and recover from disasters. Raising public awareness about damage to cultural heritage, implementing programs for preventing and managing disaster and for rebuilding afterwards, and identifying resources for prevention and rapid intervention in emergency situations remain among our main challenges for the future.

The vision of the ICBS was that in time the Blue Shield would become for cultural heritage what the Red Cross is for humanitarian protection. During a meeting in Strasbourg (France), April 2000, where the ICBS Charter was drawn up, respecting the following principles:

  • joint actions
  • independence
  • neutrality
  • professionalism and
  • respect of cultural identity and
  • maintaining a non-profit basis.

These principles were derived from those of the Red Cross.

They are elaborated in The 2000 Strasbourg Charter, drawn up in 2000, and adopted in 2001.