Cultural heritage reflects the life, history and identity of a community, and links the past to the present. If cultural heritage is not preserved and protected, communities will break.

Within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the UN in 2015, cultural heritage has a crucial role. SDG 11 calls for a strengthening of efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural heritage. Libraries worldwide are actively engaged in preserving, protecting and making this heritage accessible.

Cultural heritage is particularly threatened by armed conflicts. The 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict encourages member states to take measures for safeguarding cultural heritage and implement criminal sanctions for violations of the Convention.

During the twelfth meeting of the Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the event of Armed Conflict, the Secretariat reported on its activities and on the implementation of international assistance granted to Mali and Libya.

The International Council of Museums (ICOM) presented its new report on the situations where cultural property is at risk in the context of an armed conflict, including occupation. UNESCO has commissioned ICOM, on behalf of the Blue Shield, to prepare the report. The report proposes solutions and tools for the Committee in improving the protection of cultural property affected by conflict, including occupation.

You can read the ICOM report here.

IFLA has always had the preservation and protection of cultural heritage as one of its main priorities, and is looking forward to working further together with UNESCO and the International Committee of the Blue Shield to protect and safeguard cultural heritage in libraries.