JAIC , Volume 39, Number 1, Article 14 (pp. to )
JAIC online
Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC , Volume 39, Number 1, Article 14 (pp. to )




In the past five or six years, the international community has organized itself to meet the challenges of risk preparedness in relation to cultural heritage. This process has given the opportunity to redefine the objectives and even to go beyond protection to prevent disasters in the conventional sense. One of the important issues in this regard has been the process for revising the UNESCO Hague Convention, initially conceived in relation to armed conflicts but now possibly to cover natural disasters as well. At the nongovernmental level, various international organizations, including ICOMOS and ICOM with the support of UNESCO and ICCROM, have joined forces for a grassroots movement, the so-called Blue Shield program, encouraging local populations and authorities in planning and risk preparedness. Most countries have programs to guarantee the safety of civilians, like the models developed in Canada and Japan. The purpose of international action in risk preparedness is to learn about such experiences and to offer them to the world communities as a reference. ICCROM's role in this process is to work on several fronts, including collection of data through networking, the development of experience into feasible models, and the offering of them to the public—the decision makers, the professionals, and the students—through manuals, guidelines, and training. This work is continuous. Risk preparedness should not be conceived only in relation to emergencies. It should also be integrated into the ordinary routine of managing cultural heritage resources, as well as into the management of our daily environment.