UNESCO and BSI sign Letter of Intent

UNESCO and BSI sign Letter of Intent

Peter Stone shakes hand with Ernesto Ottone R
President Stone of Blue Shield International and Ernesto Ottone, R., Assistant Director-General for Culture of UNESCO, sign a Letter of Intent for cultural cooperation on 13 May 2024.

On 13 May, President Peter Stone of the Blue Shield was delighted to sign a Letter of Intent with Ernesto Ottone, R., the Assistant Director-General for Culture of UNESCO.

The Letter declares the organisations’ intent to strengthen their cooperation to encourage worldwide ratification and implementation with respect to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two Protocols of 1954 and 1999.

The two parties signed the Letter in the Peace Palace in the Hague on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Convention, which was opened for signature at the Peace Palace on 14 May 1954.

The historic event builds on a long history of support between the two organisations and the Hague Convention. When the Committee of Experts met to draft the 1954 Hague Convention, the Director-General of UNESCO, Luther Evans stated in his opening speech on July 21, 1953:

It is our object today, Gentlemen, to lay the foundations of what I may call the Red Cross of cultural property, and have it accepted by all States and by public opinion.

That organisation was eventually founded in 1996, in the form of the Blue Shield. Today, like the Red Cross, it is an independent, impartial, and neutral movement of national committees around the world, together with an international Board and Secretariat, advocating for the implementation of international humanitarian law, particularly the 1954 Hague Convention, and the protection of cultural property and those who work to such protect it, and responding in crisis and disaster. It is recognised as an “eminent professional organisation” providing advice in the protection of cultural property in armed conflict in the 1999 Second Protocol to the 1954 Hague Convention.

Following the signing, President Stone said:

I am delighted to cement the long history between UNESCO and Blue Shield in this declaration of Intent. It is my firm hope that this represents not only our increasing cooperation, but the future increasing ratification and implementation of the 1954 Hague Convention - the most important piece of international legislation protecting cultural property in conflict today.

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