About our Anniversary!
On 6 June 1996, Patrick Boylan (International Council of Museums – ICOM), Dinu Bumbaru (International Council on Monuments and Sites – ICOMOS), George Mackenzie (International Council on Archives —ICA) and Marie-Therese Varlamoff (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions — IFLA) concluded and signed a permanent cooperation agreement on behalf of their respective organisations under the name of “The International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS)”. The signing took place in the ICOM offices in UNESCO, Paris. ICBS went on to become the Blue Shield – an organisation composed not just of these founding four organisations, but with national committees around the world coordinated by an International Board made up of representatives of the four founding institutions and members nominated by the National Committees.
As part of our programme of events, we’re inviting you to join us in raising awareness of the importance of blue shields by nominating your favourite blue shield!
The blue shield is an international legal symbol for the protection of properties and sites of cultural interest in times of armed conflict, equivalent to the Red Cross for humanitarian protection. It signifies cultural property “of great importance” (under article 1 of the 1954 Hague Convention) when placed on a monument or site by a designated authority. This symbol is also at the heart of the Blue Shield’s logo, representing our mission of
protection of the world’s cultural property, and is concerned with the protection of tangible and intangible cultural and natural heritage in the event of armed conflict, and during natural, or human-made, disaster.
(Article 2.1, Blue Shield Statutes 2016).
Each week we’re going to post one example in our website gallery and on social media to showcase some of the important cultural and heritage sites around the world, and to raise awareness of the importance of protecting them during armed conflict or disasters.
Contact us to nominate your favourite blue shield from around the world! Email a photo of it (and say in up to 100 words why you like it) to: [email protected].
Conditions: If possible, photos should be high resolution and not less than 500 KB. Photos should be free of copyright. The final decision whether or not to post a contribution rests with the Blue Shield.
About Blue Shield Emblems
The Blue Shield emblem takes three forms. These emblems are protective symbols used during armed conflicts. Their use is restricted by international law.
- A single blue and white shield: indicates movable or immovable cultural property designated under the 1954 Hague Convention as being of great importance to the cultural heritage of every people;
- A triple blue and white shield: If the emblem is “repeated three times in a triangular formation (one shield below),” this indicates cultural property of very great importance designated for special protection under the 1954 Hague Convention, cultural property being transported, and refuges storing movable cultural property ;
- A blue and white shield with a red border: The 1999 Second Protocol to the 1954 Hague Convention creates a system of Enhanced Protection, which aims to strengthen the protection of a limited number of cultural sites in times of armed conflict. Cultural property may be placed under enhanced protection provided that it is cultural heritage of the greatest importance for humanity.
Purpose of the Emblem
The primary purpose of the Blue Shield emblem is to facilitate the recognition of cultural property that requires protection in the event of armed conflict as well as prior to hostilities breaking out and in the aftermath of fighting
The single Blue Shield emblem may be used to identify the following:
- cultural property protected under international law (with the exception of cultural properties under special and enhanced protection, which have different emblems);
- People who are authorised to engage in the protection of cultural property, specialist armed forces who protect cultural property, and people overseeing the implementation of the 1954 Hague Convention (who many carry identify cards bearing the symbol).
The triple Blue Shield emblem may be used to identify the following:
- immovable cultural property under special protection, including centres containing monuments;
- the transport of cultural property under the conditions provided for in Articles 12 and 13 of the 1954 Hague Convention;
- refuges (including improvised refuges) containing important moveable cultural property.
The Blue Shield emblem with a red border may be used to indicate the following:
- cultural property under enhanced protection.
The cultural emblems are protective symbols used during armed conflicts. Their use is restricted by international law.
Learn more about the history of the Blue Shield organisation
Learn more about the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two Protocols (1954/1999) in our Law Library