The Blue Shield believes that even though damage to cultural property in conflict and natural disasters cannot be completely prevented, it can be limited. Proper preparations in peacetime, or acting in certain ways during and after conflict or emergencies, can mitigate some of the risks, limiting the damage. All of these preparations and activities, however, involve understanding the risks that heritage faces.

Based on current research (listed in our Document Library), the Blue Shield has identified key threats to heritage in conflict and disaster. These are a combination of types of damage and motivations for its destruction: it is only by understanding this combination that we can think about how to stop or mitigate each one. The threats primarily relate to tangible cultural heritage, like buildings, museum and library collections and archives, but it is important to also remember that the cultural rights of people are also affected by a conflict or a major environmental disaster. (For more on heritage destruction and cultural rights see our Law Library).