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NATO hosts conference on Cultural Property Protection

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NATO hosts conference on Cultural Property Protection

NATO hosts conference on Cultural Property Protection.

The Office of the Secretary General’s Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security WPS and Human Security hosted a conference titled “Cultural Property Protection and NATO: Practices, Experiences and Trends”, at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on February 9, 2019. The conference’s purpose was to evaluate the implications of protecting cultural property in armed conflict for NATO and Allies.

Ms. Irene Fellin, the Special Representative, stated that “destruction of cultural property during times of conflict is not an uncommon phenomenon.” Because of its significance for the community and humanity, destruction of cultural properties has strategic and tactical importance for belligerents in campaigns and operations. It serves to demoralize and destroy a community’s identity.”

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This message resonates especially well in current times, as we witness the terrible consequences of Russia’s war on Ukraine, which includes the intentional destruction of cultural property. The Madrid Summit Declaration states that NATO Allies have committed to supporting Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction and are ready to assist it.

NATO has made significant progress over the past decade in addressing cross-cutting issues related to cultural property protection in its operations and mission.

NATO hosts conference on Cultural Property Protection

In several policy documents, the Alliance addressed cultural property protection. These include its Protection of Civilians Policy as well as its comprehensive approach to crisis management. The NATO Human Security Approach and Guiding Principles were approved by the Allied Heads of State and Government at the Madrid Summit in June 2022. This includes Cultural Property Protection.

NATO will begin the process of developing a policy that supports the implementation of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (and its Protocols) in NATO’s operations or missions.

A wide range of experts, civilian and military personnel, and national representatives participated in the conference, which focused on the development of a NATO policy on Cultural Property Protection.

As Ms Fellin emphasized in her remarks, cultural properties are part of the environment in which we operate and their protection is an important part of NATO’s operational goals.

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