Protection and prevention
Action in the Event of War
The 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two Protocols of 1954 and 1999 provides for a system of protection for cultural property in situations of armed conflict. The UK Government has signalled its intention to ratify the Convention and its protocols. UNESCO has produced a brief Guide to the Convention and the Protocols and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has produced a Factsheet and Advice and Model Instruments of Ratification. Factsheet Legislation provides further information.
Why is this relevant in the UK?
In order to ratify the Convention agreement must be reached on which institutions will receive general protection and which enhanced protection. General protection is awarded to cultural property which is of great importance to the cultural heritage of every people. For enhanced protection cultural heritage sites and monuments must demonstrate they are of the 'greatest importance for humanity'. DCMS's consultation asked for views on which institutions should be covered by which form of protection. Perhaps of even greater significance for the UK is that the Convention introduces a number of obligations for UK military forces operating overseas; and that compliance requires institutions given protection to put in place appropriate risk management procedures in peace time.
Guidance on disaster preparedness is available from Collections Link in the Plan for Emergencies section. At an international level the International Council of Museums (ICOM) runs three Risk management programmes which are of interest to our work in the UK and in supporting public collections around the world which have been affected by natural disasters. Conservators can also often advise on precautions to take (refer to the Conservation Register for further information and resources).
Collections Link has a dedicated section on Security to which public collections are advised to refer.