The key goals of the Blue Shield are laid out in Article 2 of the Blue Shield 2016 Statutes. They are to:
- protect cultural and natural heritage – tangible and intangible – from the effects of conflict and environmental disaster;
- promote the ratification of, respect for, and implementation of, the 1954 Hague Convention and its two Protocols;
- raise awareness of the importance of protecting heritage in emergency situations;
- promote and provide relevant training (to heritage professionals, the armed forces, other emergency responders, and those involved in preventing the illicit trafficking of looted objects);
- promote community engagement with and participation in protecting cultural property (CP);
- encourage co-operation with, and between, other relevant entities involved in emergency situations.
The Blue Shield aims to be proactive, developing and coordinating knowledge and measures wherever possible that prevent or mitigate damage before it can occur. In order to do this, the Blue Shield champions the importance of cultural heritage, raising awareness of its importance to demonstrate that it is not a luxury, and should be given full consideration in line with its place in international law.
Blue Shield’s mission and goals are delivered through six areas of activity. With respect to cultural property protection (CPP) in the event of armed conflict and natural/human-made disasters, the Blue Shield works in the areas of:
- Proactive protection and risk preparedness;
- Emergency response;
- Stabilisation, post-disaster recovery, and long-term/ongoing support activities;
- Legal compliance, policy, and their implementation;
- Capacity building activities, and education and training in support of the Blue Shield’s Areas of Activity;
- Co-ordination – of Blue Shield members and with partner organisations.
The Blue Shield International Board (BSI) realises these Areas of Activity in the following international contexts:
- Contributing the development and delivery of plans and actions for proactive planning, emergency response, stabilisation, post-disaster recovery, and long-term/ongoing support activities at the international level, coordinating support to affected national committees from the international community as requested.
- Promoting and developing understanding of the international laws which underpin the Blue Shield’s work (see the Blue Shield Approach); primarily the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two Protocols (1954, 1999), but also other international legal instruments which are part of the international cultural protection agenda as set by the UN and UNESCO. These laws are interpreted within the framework of the laws of armed conflict (LOAC), as well as international initiatives regarding environmental disaster such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
- Contributing to the development of policies in relation to international cultural protection agendas, and promoting their implementation.
- Developing policy for the Blue Shield association, and promoting its implementation.
- Working with partners to support capacity building activities and develop and deliver education and training materials and courses in support of the Blue Shield’s Areas of Activity at the international level.
- Co-ordinating the work of the Blue Shield national committees, as Members of the Blue Shield association, and BSI’s work with international partners. Blue Shield does not work in isolation, and partners include: UNESCO, ICA, ICOM, ICOMOS, IFLA and other international heritage organisations; NATO and other multi-national forces; and other international organisations involved in cultural property protection.
BSI recognises that its work must be interpreted in a national context, taking account of national legislation and policy. (Read more about the work of our national committees).
In addition to supporting National Committees, BSI promotes training in cultural property protection for the armed forces and other relevant emergency organisations. We are an official partner of NATO and are assisting with the cultural property protection element of NATO training.
Read the Blue Shield Statutes 2016 (pdf)
Read more about the training Blue Shield offers
Read more about the work of national committees
Read about Blue Shield’s regular meetings
Read about Blue Shield’s heritage assessment missions
Read Blue Shield’s statements on heritage destruction
Download articles about the Blue shield in our Document Library