Museums have no borders, they have a network



ICOM and Blue Shield

The Blue Shield is the emblem specified in the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, to identify and protect cultural sites from attack during armed conflict. [Article 16.1]. The focus of Blue Shield has been expanded in recent years to include working towards protection and safeguarding culture heritage from natural disasters.

The International Committee of Blue Shield (ICBS) was established in 1996 by the four “pillar” organisations: ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites), ICOM (International Council of Museums), IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) and ICA (International Council on Archives). CCAAA (Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations) joined in 2005. Under the 2nd Protocol of the Hague Convention ICBS advises the inter-governmental Committee for Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

The International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS) works in partnership with other international bodies to

  • Protect the world’s cultural heritage through preventive measures
  • Respond to emergency situations that may threaten cultural heritage
  • Facilitate international responses to threats or emergencies
  • Provide training of experts at national and regional levels
  • Work toward protection and safeguarding of cultural heritage against flood, fire and natural disasters

The Association of National Committees of Blue Shield (ANCBS) was established in 2006, by the 2006 Hague Blue Shield Accord which clearly defines the respective roles of the National Committees, ANCBS and ICBS and extends the remit to natural disasters.

The national committees set their own priorities within the overall framework of ICBS/ANCBS and each works slightly differently and different models for membership are used, beyond the representation of the “pillar” organisations.

Visit the UK Blue Shield website


ICOM/WIPO Cultural Mediation Service

ICOM UK welcomes the announcement of the new ICOM/WIPO Cultural Mediation Service, which can be accessed via the ICOM website.

The service is designed to help cultural institutions resolve disputes involving cultural property without recourse to expensive 3rd parties and legal advisers.  Importantly, cultural institutions can select mediators with existing expertise in disputes relating to art and cultural heritage from a WIPO-approved list.

The mediation process, which is voluntary and non-binding on all parties, is supported by considerable guidance and reference material, provided by ICOM. It can help with disputes concerning a wide range of issues such as restitution, repatriation and disputes over authenticity.

Find out more on the ICOM website at

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