What is the Blue Shield

A few words about the Blue Shield and the Hellenic Committee of the Blue Shield . . .

Ever since the beginning of the last century, many countries in their effort to codify the law of war and identify war crimes against humanity decided to meet and discuss these issues at two international conferences in the Hague in 1899 and 1907. The second and most important conference culminated all these efforts in the text of the Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, adopted in 1954. 

One of the many actions that ensued from the Hague Convention is the symbol of the Blue Shield, established as an emblem for the protection of historic sites in the event of war operations, being the cultural equivalent of the Red Cross. The International Stewardship Committee (ICBS), was established in 1996 on the initiative of five non-governmental international organizations: the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the International Federation of Associations and Institutions of Libraries (IFLA), the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives (CCAAA). 

The aim of this label is to protect a site in case of an attack during armed conflict. The need for the dissemination and the establishment of this symbolic protection signage has led to the creation of a global network, in which organizations supporting museums, libraries, archives, monuments and sites are involved at a national level. This network is supervised by the Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield (ANCBS), established in 2008 and based in The Hague.

Acknowledging the importance of the role of this international network in regard to the protection of cultural property not only during warfare, but also in the event of natural disasters, the Hellenic National Committee of the Blue Shield has been established in 2020. The statutory objectives of the Blue Shield Hellenic National Committee correspond to the global demand for action in order to develop and coordinate knowledge and measures, wherever possible, that prevent or mitigate damage before it can occur.

The founding members of the Committee are prominent experts from various disciplines (lawyers, archaeologists, academics, architects, conservators, civil engineers, officers of armed forces and defense etc.), who are already involved in actions aiming at raising awareness, educating and building capacities in terms of risk mapping and prevention, as well as disaster management.

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