The Blue Shield is formed from a network of national committees across the globe, who are all working to protect cultural heritage. You can read about their most recent activities in the reports submitted at our general meetings. Many national committees also maintain social media accounts to which you can subscribe for updates. There are currently 21 national committees, with more under construction. You can learn more about individual national committees by looking Around the globe.
Like the International Board, Blue Shield national committees aim 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.
Blue Shield national committees realise these areas of activity in the following national 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 national level, coordinating with Blue Shield International for international support as required.
- 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. Whilst national committees are guided by work at the international level, they must interpret these laws and frameworks in a national context, with reference to national legislation and policies. They promote ratification of international laws in national parliaments.
- Contributing to the development of national policies in relation to international cultural protection agendas, and promoting their implementation in national contexts.
- Interpreting Blue Shield International policy at the national level, supporting Blue Shield International in policy development, and implementing it.
- 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 national level.
- Co-ordinating the work of members of the Blue Shield national committees, and with national partners. Blue Shield does not work in isolation, and these include: government departments, national ministries of defence, emergency response units, and other national organisations involved in CPP, such as national committees or branches of ICA, ICOM, ICOMOS, IFLA, and the National Commissions of UNESCO.