UK BS Responds to government Cultural Protection Fund consultation

On 14 January, the DCMS opened a consultation into the structure, management, and form of a new £30 million cultural protection fund.

Read the consultation document here: Cultural protection fund consultation

Several members of UK Blue Shield participated in the consultation sessions, before finally submitting the following feedback, in consultation with various organisations, including UNESCO and ICOMOS:


DCMS Consultation on Cultural Protection Fund

Response submitted by the UK National Committee of the Blue Shield

(Alternatively, download the response: BS response to DCMS Consultation)

Contact details

Professor Peter Stone, Chair, UK National Committee of the Blue Shield


Q1: Do you agree or disagree with the proposed overall approach to the Cultural Protection Fund as outlined in Section 1?

1.1           This response is submitted by the Blue Shield, the international organisation recognised in the 2nd Protocol of the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. We fully support the overall approach to the CPF and aspire to work closely with DCMS and the British Council in its delivery. This response has been complied by the UK National Committee of the Blue Shield but is submitted with the full support and endorsement of the President of the international Blue Shield.

1.2           The creation of the Cultural Protection Fund (CPF) is an extremely welcome, and extraordinarily timely, initiative. However, the particular activities of Daesh/ISIS should not lull us into the security that destruction of cultural property is a specific problem related only to the current conflict in Syria and Iraq. Cultural property is damaged and destroyed wherever and whenever conflict occurs. Cultural property protection (CPP) is therefore an issue with a long history and, unfortunately, no doubt a long future. Any consideration of how the CPF should be spent needs to take this clearly into consideration. Now the CPF has been set-up we hope the commitment to CPP by the current Government will be reiterated by future governments by the continuation of the CPF. Seen in this context, this first tranche of the CPF needs to be used to ensure it creates the long-term context and processes within the UK required for the UK to make the most effective contribution to CPP long into the future.

1.3           As the consultation suggests, the “UK leads the world in international development”. Such involvement is, quite correctly, normally focussed on issues such as education, clean water provision, immunisation, and nutrition and the Government’s success in these areas is to be applauded. However, the CPF presents the opportunity to focus attention on culture, and in particular cultural property, as a means of delivering our international obligations towards the UN Global Goals, UNESCO’s priorities, ODA objectives, and our own national priorities.

1.4           Cultural property gets damaged and destroyed in conflict for six main reasons: lack of planning; spoils of war; collateral damage; lack of military awareness; looting; and specific targeting. While none of these can be mitigated against completely, careful proactive action can significantly reduce their impact on cultural property during conflict. Such mitigation is already a central aspect of the activity of the Blue Shield and the CPF could make a significant contribution to this work.

1.5           If the CPF is to be used to maximum benefit, it, of course, needs to be contextualised within existing frameworks and activity. The main context is obviously set by the UN and UNESCO which together provide the international coordination for the protection and management of both tangible and intangible cultural property and heritage. UNESCO, in particular through its Emergency Preparedness and Response Unit, but also its wider initiatives such as UNESCO’s #Unite4Heritage campaign, provides the coordination focus for all such related activity. Particular note should be taken of Resolution 48 of the 38th session of the UNESCO General Assembly (November 2015) ‘Reinforcement of UNESCO’s action for the protection of culture and the promotion of cultural pluralism in the event of armed conflict’, in which the General Assembly adopted a strategy for reinforcing UNESCO’s action for the protection of culture and the promotion of cultural pluralism in the event of armed conflict and invited Member States to support the delivery of the action plan for the implementation of the strategy. The CPF could be seen as a significant step towards the UK’s acknowledgement of this resolution and acceptance of this invitation.

1.6           At a national level the CPF should liaise closely with the UK National Commission for UNESCO and with the UNESCO Chair in Cultural Property Protection and Peace at Newcastle University – the only such Chair in the world.

1.7           As noted above, there is a significant overlap between the aspirations of the CPF and the existing work of the Blue Shield (and see 4.2.1 below). It would be extremely unfortunate if the two not to coordinate and work together – in particular as the British Council lacks any significant expertise in CPP (and see 2.2 below).

1.8           The CPF provides the opportunity to show to the world that the UK has had the moral foresight to establish a long-term, viable, strategic leadership capability for CPP, much as Switzerland is acknowledged as the genesis behind and guardian of the Red Cross. As well as funding well-deserving one-off projects, the value of which may be significant on the ground in one locality but that will have little, long-term strategic value, the UK should become the acknowledged champion of CPP by setting-up and funding a central coordination function. Such a coordination capability would:

  • Support the British Council in its management of the CPF by providing the essential CPP expertise lacking in the Council (and DCMS);
  • Coordinate with UNESCO, nationally and internationally, and its wider remit;
  • Coordinate with, and enhance, Blue Shield activity at both the national and international level;
  • Coordinate with other relevant NGOs both nationally and internationally;
  • Through directly running projects in collaboration with in-country colleagues, help the CPF to address and mitigate the six reasons cultural property is damaged and destroyed.

1.9           As part of the management framework for the CPF it would be obviously sensible for any coordination team to have the support of an advisory committee drawn from relevant national organisations.

1.10        Given time, the CPF, supported by such a coordination function, could do so much more. At an international level it could place the UK at the forefront of delivering the UN Global Goals and the Consultation specifically mentions Goals 4, 8, and 12. We identify, in particular, the UN Global Goals Specific Targets to:

  • “Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage” (G11, T4);
  • “promote… a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development” (G4, T7);
  • “significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere” (G16, T1);
  • “devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products” (G8, T9); and
  • “develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products” (G12, T10).

1.11       There is significant evidence that cultural heritage – if properly utilised – directly impacts all these targets. Therefore, implementing a comprehensive CPP overview and approach to these targets could not only aid in addressing many of the current problems of the MENA region but could help the security of the UK and provide greater opportunities for UK businesses.

1.12        A coordination capacity could encourage, support, and guide holistic CPP-related objectives that would directly address the above international priorities and ODA objectives outlined in recent UK Government documents, including for example, the Building Stability Overseas Strategy (July 2011) and The National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review (November 2015). It would, in particular, contribute to addressing the four strategic objectives of UK aid: tackling global challenges in the national interest (November 2015: “Strengthening global peace, Security and governance”; “Strengthening resilience and response to crises”; “Promoting global prosperity”; and “Tackling extreme poverty and helping the world’s most vulnerable”). Tackling global challenges noted that these objectives are all inextricably linked, and, if they were to be addressed, emphasised that a more secure, stable, peaceful, prosperous world would follow and would benefit all humankind and that such a prosperous world is strongly in the UK’s national interest. In addition to its importance in peace-building activities, a secure cultural heritage is a tangible manifestation of such a stable, prosperous world.

1.13        The introduction of the CPF under the broader ODA umbrella is acknowledged as a bold and innovative step and we recognise that even more conventional aid spending has sometimes been controversial at home, because people want to know that that such expenditure is squarely in the UK’s national interest. However, we fully support the Secretary of State’s contention that damage to and destruction of cultural property and heritage seriously undermines freedom of expression, attacks peoples’ shared sense of history and identity, and undermines social cohesion, making post-conflict reconciliation less likely. Conversely, the protection of cultural property (before, during, and after conflict) encourages a culture of peace and non-violence, stimulates global citizenship, contributes to economic prosperity, and inspires an appreciation of cultural diversity. Through its protection, cultural property can make a significant contribution to our understanding of how our common past has shaped our current world, and can make a significant, positive contribution to our mutual future. It fosters community wellbeing, sustainable development, and economic transformation helping to draw countries in, or at risk of, conflict into more stable and economically secure places thereby removing many of the causes of conflict. Tackling global challenges notes that success “requires a patient, long-term approach” but that once a strategic vision has been established and is understood it is clear that such strategic aid spending is not only the most successful but that it “can command widespread support from the UK population”. Implementing a strategic vision for the CPF with the reach and awareness to integrate a holistic approach must therefore be considered a priority.

1.14        Together with the promised ratification of the 1954 Hague Convention and its two Protocols the CPF provides an extraordinary and unique opportunity for the UK to take an international leadership role regarding CPP as an integral part of its wider ODA agenda – if it is deployed in a strategic, holistic, manner. We must make the very best use of the CPF to ensure this leadership role is established quickly and for the long-term: to leave a long-term legacy for this Government and the UK. The need for strategic vision and international leadership, currently missing and so desperately needed, will be relevant far into the future and is a role that no country has yet grasped.

1.15        Without such a strategic vision, delivered by a core, small, team with clear credibility with the international heritage community, military, police, customs, and NGO sector, the CPF will be a (not insignificant) splash in the pond. £30 million spent and gone with no legacy other than that relating to a handful of specific, unrelated, projects. It could, and must, be so much more. A small coordination team would provide the strategic vision, credibility, and focal point for the efforts of the international community’s actions regarding CPP long into the future and address the UN, UNESCO, ODA, and national aspirations mentioned above. It would work to the UK’s soft power, diplomatic, security, and ODA agendas and position the UK as the international leader and focal point for a moral, humanitarian, and sensitive approach not only to CPP in conflict, but how we wage war in the 21st Century and beyond.

1.16        The CPF should not solely be targeted on the protection of archaeological sites and museums but should encompass the full range of cultural property as identified in the 1954 Hague Convention and include all (public and private) museums, library collections, archives, art galleries etc. If allowable under ODA rules, it should also be open to addressing issues relating to intangible cultural heritage – not least amongst displaced people across the MENA region.


Q1a: Please provide any comments to explain your answer to Q1.

1.17        In 1864 the Swiss Government supported Henry Dunant and his ‘International Committee for Relief to the Wounded’ to create the original Geneva Convention and the organisation that was to become the International Committee of the Red Cross. This was a strategic and visionary action that gave Switzerland the international leadership in legally guaranteeing, for the first time ever, neutrality and protection for wounded soldiers, field medical personnel, and creating the first humanitarian institution in armed conflict. It is not too much of an exaggeration to note that an analogous opportunity now presents itself to the UK.


Q2: Do you agree or disagree with the principles of the Fund?

2.1           The principles – and outcomes – of the Fund appear on a first reading to be appropriate (and appear to meet ODA spending requirements). However, in some instances, there appears to be confusion in the ‘Principles’ regarding whether they relate to the applicant, the project, or the CPF itself. For example, with respect to ‘Technical relevance’ it is unclear to whom the principle is directed. Whose job is it to ensure a ‘technically relevant approach’ – the applicant or the British Council (or DCMS)? Will the British Council provide feedback and guidance so applicants can put a more appropriate solution in their proposal? As noted in 2.2 below, we are not sure the Council retains the level of expertise required for much of this detailed expert contribution. We can provide further examples of the lack of clarity if required – but a general tightening of language would be very helpful and help with clarity of responsibility and transparency. It will also heighten the need for the Council to have additional support from those with CPP expertise.

2.2           Taken together, the principles and outcomes re-emphasise the essential need for a strategic, coherent, long-term, visionary approach to the CPF, as stressed more generally in ‘Tackling global challenges’. The British Council is the ideal organisation to manage the CPF. It has the necessary network of offices in the regions and countries most in need of support and it has a pre-eminent expertise in the Arts and intangible cultural heritage. The Council would be, however, the first to admit that it lacks the specialised expertise and experience in the wider spectrum of relevant CPP activity to ensure these principles are delivered and Government aspirations are met. Hence the need for the creation of a specialised, small, coordination team to support the Council in the adherence to, and delivery of, these principles.


Q2a: Please provide any comments to explain your answer to Q2.



Q3: Table 1 provides a list of potential projects under each of the Fund outcomes. Is there anything that we have not considered?

3.1           As set out in the 2015 National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review, and noted in ‘Tackling global challenges’ conflict and instability overseas have clear consequences for UK peace, security, and prosperity. Violence and conflict in the MENA Region are causing unprecedented migration flows to Europe. Organised crime and corruption, such as that surrounding the trade in illicit antiquities, hit the world’s poorest people hardest and provide cash for criminals and terrorists. While CPP will not, of course, on its own put an end to conflict, it can make a significant contribution to post-conflict stabilisation and reconciliation.

3.2           The CPF should be allocated under five headings:

  • Coordination;
  • Training;
  • Proactive protection;
  • Emergency response; and
  • Long-term support.

These are entirely compatible with the potential projects outlined in Table 1.

3.3           Spending under all headings should include focus on five priority areas:

  1. The long-term protection, including disaster preparedness, of all forms of cultural property;
  2. The development of strategic capacity building and good governance within and between the countries eligible for ODA funding;
  3. Raising the awareness of the importance of cultural property within the populations of countries eligible for ODA funding through formal and informal education;
  4. Ensuring that the considerable expertise held within the UK be deployed to support such capacity building and awareness raising;
  5. Ensuring that the actions of countries other than those eligible for ODA funding do not undermine CPP or actively damage or destroy cultural property in countries plagued by conflict; and
  6. Ensuring good practice is made easily available and that it is up-dated on a regular basis.

3.4          Spending on all five priority areas should, obviously, concentrate on in-country spend and activity. However, as noted in [e] above, the actions of countries and organisations outside conflict zones in ODA countries can have significant impact on conflicts in ODA countries. For example:

  • Better trained armed forces from outside ODA eligible countries (e.g. the UK and NATO) should not make the horrendous mistakes committed by Coalition troops in Afghanistan and Iraq – where a great deal of cultural property was damaged and destroyed through military lack of awareness and insensitivity. Such failures not only did significant damage to the cultural property in both countries, but also made Coalition activity more unwelcome, difficult, and dangerous and, arguably, led to heightened security risks within the UK.
  • Generic training materials for the military, customs etc. should be developed, coordinated, and regularly up-dated through a small coordination team (see 4.2.1 (4) below).
  • Better trained and informed international police and customs officers will be able to better protect the cultural property of ODA countries affected by conflict and plagued by the trade in illicit antiquities.
  • A coherent and integrated network of Blue Shield national committees both within and outside ODA countries, working in conjunction with the ‘Blue Helmets for Cultural Property’ (see 4.2.5 below), would significantly extend the expertise available to support excellent CPP in ODA countries.
  • Good practice in the development of educational projects and materials should be coordinated and made easily and widely available.
  • The expansion and better funding of UK humanitarian response teams, harnessing a wider range of British expertise, is already a Government objective and should include CPP expertise and capability.

3.5          Funding of such activity should be kept to an absolute minimum and it goes without saying that only activity that directly impacts on ODA countries should be considered. However, a few percent of the overall CPF spent on such activity would have an exponential impact on the strategic success of the CPF and would sit well within ODA guidelines.

picture in response
















3.6          It must be remembered that the critical expertise and main responsibility for the protection and use of cultural property in any country rests with the relevant experts and organisations of that country. Most communities, of course, already value their heritage but may not have the resources to protect and adequately preserve it. The CPF should not, of course, be used to impose British ideas or values in ODA countries but, through financial and expert support, enable local national experts to realise their own, and international, aspirations and responsibilities. Long-term capacity building through training is essential, as is the creation of digital inventories and archives, and disaster planning and preparedness (all proactive protection). Emergency response and activity during conflict is crucial as, as Blue Shield experience has shown, it is at this stage that critical needs can be identified and vital evidence collected. (For example, it was the Blue Shield emergency response mission to Libya in 2011 that collected evidence of the success of the NATO destruction of six mobile radar vehicles, while doing little damage to the Roman fort, at Ras Almargeb. This evidence led to NATO commissioning the review Cultural Property Protection in Operations Planning Process, that recommended, in December 2012, the creation of a NATO-level CPP doctrine.) Long-term post-conflict support (that will require a commitment of decades) is crucial not only in providing assistance for the conservation, restoration, and preservation of cultural property but also in developing formal and informal education projects for local people and in realising the potential of cultural property for the long-term well-being of communities and the economic stability of countries, perhaps especially through tourism.

3.7          It is noticeable that the list only refers to projects. In some conflict areas, the relevant trained staff, with the correct expertise and skills, remain in post. However, they frequently have little or no access to the necessary materials or equipment to conduct protection and/or stabilisation, etc. The CPF needs to retain the flexibility to buy and/or supply such materials and equipment as part of its emergency response remit. In Iraq, most conservation chemicals had been banned under external sanctions; it was only through the quick work of Dutch military CPP staff that refrigerated lorries were made available to freeze waterlogged archives to save them from rotting and for proper conservation over an almost ten year period; currently in Syria, one of the most needed restoration items is plaster… and so on. While finding funding for training is relatively straightforward, funding materials and equipment is, frequently, next to impossible.

3.8           Coordination is key to all such activity.


Q4: Please tell us about any examples of existing successful cultural heritage protection initiatives operating in conflict zones in ODA eligible countries.

4.1           While there are a number of very good examples of CPP initiatives in ODA countries suffering, or at risk of suffering, conflict, one problem is the lack of a central understanding of all such activity. In part this lack of coordination has led to a number of overlapping initiatives that replicate good practice. A centralised understanding of what is going on might help to avert such unnecessary and wasteful duplication of effort. Some good practice takes place ‘off radar’ when public knowledge of its existence might jeopardise its delivery and success. We would be happy to elaborate in person if this would be helpful.

4.2           We flag four initiatives as examples of good work and one (Italy) as a potential significant development. The four are all excellent examples of existing initiatives that should serve as standard bearers of quality. The CPF should avoid all temptation to reinvent these particular wheels. Rather it should fund complementary initiatives – building on and enhancing existing good practice.


4.2.1      Blue Shield (

The Blue Shield was founded in 1996, in anticipation of the 2nd Protocol to the 1954 Hague convention, by the joint action of the International Council of Archives (ICA), the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). As such, given the focus and remit of these organisations, it reflects the tangible, object-based approach enshrined within the 1954 Convention. Despite its entirely voluntary basis the Blue Shield has had considerable success in addressing the destruction of cultural property during conflict. As examples the Blue Shield has:

  • Made available Site registers/locations of ‘important’ cultural property (usually produced in collaboration with colleagues ‘in-country’) in Iraq, Libya, Mali, Syria, and Yemen to the UK Ministry of Defence, the US Department of Defense, UNESCO, and NATO. We have worked to ensure that these registers are transferred to military ‘No-strike’ lists and, as a result, cultural property has been protected as at Ras Almargeb.
  • Developed international policy that has begun to impact on how the military relate to CPP. Our Policy ‘The Four Tier Approach’ led directly to the UK Army setting up a CPP Working Group that has developed the framework for a new CPP Capability in UK Armed Forces.
  • Liaised with military and other emergency organisations and influenced their thinking and operations. For example, a long-term collaboration with the NATO affiliated Civilian/Military Centre of Excellence resulted in the publication of Cultural Property Protection Makes Sense a 78 page booklet written to introduce the requirements and benefits of CPP to a wide range of officers. The UK national committee is in discussion with the UK Defence Academy over the development and delivery of specialised CPP contributions to existing and new, more specialised, courses. Blue Shield national committees have also worked to mitigate non-conflict-related disasters in Haiti and Cologne.
  • Developed and delivered training programmes for a number of Armed Forces – including African Union forces deployed to Mali, the United Nations Interim force in Lebanon, the Lebanese Military’s CPP Unit, The Cambodian Army, The New Zealand Army, USA forces, and numerous European militaries. We are currently working with UNESCO to develop generic training materials for the military that will be freely available for local adaptation.
  • Carried out During/Post conflict assessment missions in Egypt, Libya (twice), and Mali. Evidence gathered during the mission to Libya led directly to NATO setting up its internal review Cultural Property Protection in Operations Planning Process, that recommended, in December 2012, the creation of a NATO-level CPP doctrine. This is current the subject of a NATO-funded working group.
  • Publicised and raised the profile of CPP related work. A number of our members have written academic articles and books developing the CPP agenda and we have delivered a large number of CPP-related lectures to specialised and general audiences. A MOOC is under preparation.


4.2.2      Biladi: Heritage for dialogue (

BILADI is a Lebanese NGO dedicated to promoting cultural and natural heritage to young people. It believes that heritage is unique and irreplaceable but, in post-conflict countries, globalization and psychological barriers have separated young people from their heritage. It is the Biladi mission is to re-establish this link, to give young people the chance to learn about their heritage, cherish it and build bridges through it. Heritage, for Biladi, is a tool for dialogue in conflict situations. Its most recent project Syria in my mind worked with Syrian refugee children in Lebanon to remind them of the importance and uniqueness of their heritage.


4.2.3      Heritage without Borders (

Heritage without Borders is an international charity established in 2010 that builds capacity in museum skills by matching UK heritage professionals with colleagues based in stable, post-conflict situations where resources are scarce. Its vision is “a world in which all people can preserve, interpret and celebrate their cultural heritage”. The charity works with extremely small amounts of funding and relies on experts giving their time freely – often in their holidays. Previous projects have taken place in Albania, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, and Turkmenistan. The main thing holding more work being done is lack of finances.


4.2.4      ICCROM (

ICCROM is an intergovernmental organization and the only institution of its kind with a worldwide mandate to promote the conservation of all types of cultural heritage. ICCROM’s ‘First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis’ training programme aims to equip participants with the necessary skills and knowledge to provide timely response in emergency situations. Offered within the framework of the Disaster Risk Management programme, this hands-on training is aimed at preparing proactive cultural first-aiders who will have the ability to assess risks to cultural heritage and reduce the impact of such events.

The training is multidisciplinary and has inputs from other emergency actors such as military and humanitarians. Simulated emergency events, role-plays and group discussions will help in developing leadership skills. The training encourages participants to play a key role in developing initiatives for disaster risk management of cultural heritage in their respective countries.

This course is an excellent example of a ‘Rolls Royce’ product. However, more limited training, based on the ideals of this course, could be developed for significantly less financial outlay.


4.2.5      Italy (

Italy and UNESCO have just announced the long-planned agreement on the establishment of a Task Force of cultural heritage experts and the Carabinieri per la Tutela del Patrimonio Culturale in the framework of UNESCO’s global coalition #Unite4Heritage. While there appears to be a long way to go before implementation, under the agreement it is anticipated that UNESCO will be able to ask the Italian Government to make both civilian and military experts available for deployment for the conservation of cultural heritage affected by crises.


Q5: Should there be a minimum and maximum value for grant awards?

5.1           There should be two levels of grants: large and small. Both should have a two-stage application process. A short, simple, initial outline application should be submitted to check probable conformity with ODA spending requirements, any overlap with existing projects or other applications, and the suitability of proposed local partners. Potential projects that pass this stage should then be required to submit full (but not overly burdensome) applications with detailed objectives, budgets, milestones, outcomes etc. Following the good practice of the HLF, wherever possible the full applications should be completed in close collaboration with the British Council and/or coordination team to ensure maximum benefit from all funded projects and maximum overall strategic impact from the CPF as a whole.


Q5a: If yes to Q5, what would you recommend the minimum grant award to be (in £)?

5.2          Putting a minimum on grants is extremely difficult and will have to balance the potentially very significant contribution a small sum might contribute – in most ODA countries a lot of training can be delivered for £10-15,000 – with the administrative costs associated with managing and monitoring the success of the grant awarded.


Q5b: If yes to Q5, what would you recommend the maximum grant award to be (in £)?

5.3           Perhaps £5 million spread over the four years of the current allocation of the CPF. However, we would not want to be prescriptive over this upper level if a larger, excellent project, spread over the first four years of the CPF were submitted.


Q6: Please provide any additional comments on question 5.

6.1           The critical point to make about any projects funded through the CPF is that they are strategic and form part of a wider UK vision that addresses UN, UNESCO, ODA, and national objectives and priorities. They should represent good value for money across, be fully transparent, and be open to robust, but not overly bureaucratic, independent scrutiny (reviewing, with a light touch, appropriate programme design, quality assurance, approval, contracting & procurement, monitoring, reporting, and evaluation processes representing international best practice).


Q7: In your experience what are the most effective ways of monitoring and evaluating the success of projects, especially outcomes which may be harder to capture?

7.1           Measuring “impact” is going to be a priority and nightmare for the CPF. There will be a significant challenge to distinguish between short term and long term impact; the easily measurable (and tick boxing) and the complex. Wherever possible, external exemplars and advice should be accessed such as the ‘Ten Global Indicators and Targets’ of the Monitoring Framework of The Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-Operation.

7.2           Monitoring the type of projects that might be funded by the CPF is notoriously difficult. A simple metric of number of individuals trained or number of inventories created is a simple first-step – but fails to capture the long-term value of such work. Do those trained use the training in their work? Do they train others? Does the training lead to significant changes in activity or policy? Are inventories and/or catalogues used? Measuring such long-term impact can only be done over a long time period – another clear argument for the establishment of a small coordination function where knowledge of initial projects would be retained after initial success to be in a position to facilitate long-term measurement of success.

7.3           How to measure whether one (or a series of) action(s) directly prevented something or not is a challenge. Clarity over remit and success indicators will be key.

7.4           Every effort should be taken to avoid the CPF being spent entirely on attempts to mitigate current conflict ‘hot-spots’. Proactive protection, coupled with high quality training, for countries deemed to be at risk of conflict may well provide greater results in the long-term.


Q8: Do you support our overall approach to the Cultural Protection Fund as outlined in Section 2.1?

8.1           While we understand the rationale for the British Council taking on the day-to-day management of the CPF, and indeed, as noted above, see the Council as an excellent choice in this respect, we are seriously concerned that it has no track record in CPP. If the CPF is to be used to the best possible ends, and if the British Council is to deliver its role effectively, it will be essential, as section 2.2.1 of the Consultation document states, to “draw in additional expertise to complement the existing skills base at the British Council”. It needs to create the small coordination team identified above and perhaps a wider advisory committee. Without such support the Council will flounder and the CPF will be misspent.

8.2           We agree that the CPF should be grant focussed and we fully support the idea that applications may be looking for funding across all four years of the CPF. The coordination team should be expected to deliver against outcomes in the same way as other applications but with the additional responsibility of supporting the British Council in its management of the CPF through its specialised knowledge and experience.

8.3           We think the timetable is extremely tight. Especially given the expectation that future governments might continue the CPF, we suggest that it is essential to get the management of the CPF and associated processes up and running in a robust way right from the start. If this means the timetable slips a little this would not be a bad thing in the long-term.

8.4           There needs to be clarity over whether the CPF can be deployed for natural disaster (as stated in Table 1 and Section 2.2 of the Consultation Document) or whether natural disaster is outside the remit of the CPF (as stated categorically at the workshop on 11 February). While it has its roots in the 1954 Hague Convention and Protocols, and therefore explicitly relating to conflict, the Blue Shield works across both conflict and environmental disaster – as the primary actors in both (the military and other emergency organisations and related NGOs) are the same.


Q8a: Please provide any further comments to support your answer to question 8.


Q9: Which regions or ODA-eligible countries do you think grant funding should be targeted towards and would have the most benefit in the first year of the Fund’s operation?

9.1           Proactive protection as outlined under Q3 and Q11 should be targeted at countries deemed most at risk of being drawn into conflict across the MENA Region. This will take considerably longer than the first year of funding and should be the focus of the first four years of the CPF. In the first year, one country (we suggest Lebanon, where Blue Shield plans for proactive protection are relatively advanced, although not implemented due to lack of funding) should be a focal point to test approaches and produce a good practice template.


Q10: Which regions or ODA-eligible countries do you think grant funding should be targeted towards and would have the most benefit in the subsequent years of the Fund’s operation?

10.1        See 9.1 above. The key is proactive protection before conflict breaks out. To establish effective training programmes and build reliable digital inventories and catalogues across the countries in the MENA region will take at least the first four years of funding. This work is not quick, cannot be delivered through one-off training packages with no further support, and requires at least medium-term commitment. It also needs to be framed within a wider (geographical), theoretical and policy driven approach to CPP (as for example, in the ‘4 Tier Approach’ policy of the Blue Shield).


Q11: What are your views on the feasibility of working in potentially dangerous areas? Please include any advice on how the Fund could support interventions in these scenarios and examples of previous initiatives.

11.1        Security is a significant issue for CPP. A distinction should be made between nationals working to protect CP in their own country in conflict, and international support being given (financial or human – remotely or in person). Both national and international activity should be funded by the CPF. There is a large body of evidence that nationals in affected countries will take significant risks to protect their heritage, therefore interventions (best delivered as part of pre-conflict proactive protection) which contribute to their safety (e.g. with better equipment or training) must be seen as a priority.

11.2        In the best case scenario most CPP activity will have taken place before conflict actually breaks out – proactive protection and training – and we strongly recommend that priority is given to such work by the CPF: helping those at risk of conflict prepare through training and proactive protection.

11.3        In situations where international action is necessary, we recommend that any such action is usually taken by, or at least organised in strict cooperation with, the planned ‘Blue Helmets for Culture’ (see 4.1.5 above) that UNESCO holes to set-up in conjunction with the Italian Carabinieri.While it is essential for the UK to establish a CPP Capability within its own Armed Forces (and development of such a capability is already underway), if the Italian project is developed, it would be an unnecessary duplication of effort to replicate a similar Task Force within the UK.

11.4        The Blue Shield has undertaken a series of missions to countries still experiencing conflict (e.g. Egypt, Libya, and Mali) and these need extremely careful organisation and planning. Yet with appropriate membership (all missions have been undertaken by colleagues with both heritage and military backgrounds and training) and proper preparations (such as in-country military escort, and utilising in-country contacts) such missions are entirely feasible and the results can be extremely important. Previous missions have collected evidence to determine aid priorities for the international community, and to inform military CPP policies (Libya mission); set up national and international support networks and determined in-country training needs and capacity for military and heritage forces (Mali mission). In future, it may be best that such missions are carried out in conjunction with the Blue Helmets for Culture (if they are actually established) on the understanding that such a link does not limit activity.

11.5        If the military and other combatants in any conflict have received CPP awareness training and have, as a result, formed units with specific CPP responsibility, much CPP activity during conflict can, and should, be delivered by those in uniform – with ‘reach-back’ to cultural property experts out of conflict zones.


Q12: Which issues relating to gender should we be aware of? Please make reference to any specific examples that you would like us to consider.

12.1        Gender is an important aspect of conflict but is not a major differentiator with respect to CPP capability. In some instances, in MENA and similar countries, the gender of external experts may be an issue – although experience has shown that it is usually not.


Q12a: How could this be monitored?

Q13: Are there any other specific requirements or conditions that should be applied to programmes applying for grant funding which you think we should be aware of? Please make reference to any specific examples that you would like us to consider.

13.1        We should be aware of other Government initiatives and funds that might be accessed to support the CPF. For example, the Global Challenges Research Fund (£1.5 billion over the next five years) “has been created to ensure UK science takes a leading role in addressing the problems faced by developing countries. This will harness the expertise of the UK’s world leading research base to strengthen resilience and response to crisis”. While it is undoubtedly intended that the majority of this funding be used for addressing medical and related issues the UKs expertise in CPP should not be overlooked. Equally the expanded cross-government Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) has been created to underpin the UK’s security objectives by supporting the international work of the National Security Council (NSC). CPP is an obvious contributor to this agenda, and such cross-disciplinary links should be encouraged and developed.