Cultural Heritage and Peace: Building on 70 Years of The UNESCO Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict


13-15 May 2024, The Hague, Netherlands

In 2024, The Hague Convention marks its 70th anniversary. Conceived in the wake of the Second World War, the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, widely known as the 1954 Hague Convention, is the first convention in the field of culture adopted under the auspices of UNESCO. It is also the first and most comprehensive multilateral treaty that exclusively deals with the protection of cultural property against all acts of hostility. Seven decades on, the Convention has steadily gained a global significance, being now ratified by 135 States Parties.

Owing to the numerous conflicts which have resulted in considerable damage to cultural heritage over the past decades, the 1954 Hague Convention and its two Protocols have increased their relevance and visibility. Despite these comprehensive international legal frameworks to safeguard the common heritage of humankind, the deliberate and collateral destruction of cultural property continues to occur worldwide.

The protection of cultural heritage is a security issue recognized by the United Nations’ Security Council Resolution 2347 and, recently echoed by the MONDIACULT 2022 Declaration, which reaffirmed the “imperative of protecting and promoting human rights and cultural diversity,” sounding the alarm over the increasing threats to culture and its exposure to “destruction or damage in the context of armed conflicts, which result in the intentional or collateral destruction of cultural heritage.”

Within this context, the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the 1954 Hague Convention and its First Protocol, as well as the 25th anniversary of the 1999 Second Protocol present an opportunity for reflection on the achievements and associated good practices, along with challenges and difficulties.

ADH at The 2024 UNESCO Hague Convention

The session aims to explore the intersection of technology, law, and practical strategies in safeguarding
cultural heritage in times of peace and during emergencies.
Assembling a diverse panel of experts, the
session seeks to address the multifaceted challenges faced in protecting cultural sites, artifacts in peace
time, in crisis, including in the event of armed conflicts

Emphasizing the importance of international cooperation and innovative approaches, the panel will delve into how advancements in technology can aid in documentation and preservation efforts, the role of legal frameworks in ensuring the safety of cultural properties, and the critical need for effective policymaking.

Moderator: Mr. Samuel Fernando Franco Arce, Director and Founder of Casa K’ojom (Guatemala)
Ms. Mariko Fujioka, Associate Professor at the Kokugakuin University (Japan)
Ms. Mutanu Kyany’a, Head of Programs and Outreach, African Digital Heritage (Kenya)
Mr. Mauro Vignati, Adviser Digital Technologies of Warfare, ICRC (Switzerland)
Ms. Rita Tjien Fooh, Director of the National Archives, (Suriname)

We will also have a booth at the conventions Networking Agora where we hope to:

More About the Convention…

This major UNESCO International Conference organised in The Hague will bring together diverse stakeholders involved in the protection of cultural property in time of peace and in the event of armed conflict. The conference will take stock of the achievements, challenges and lessons learned in the implementation of these international normative instruments.

The international conference will aim to:

  • Advocate for a universal ratification of these international normative instruments;
  • Accentuate the importance of preparedness and implementation of safeguarding measures for the protection of heritage in peacetime;
  • Showcase UNESCO’s action over the years in the protection of cultural property in emergencies;
  • Share concrete case studies from different regions, highlighting the effectiveness of the existing tools and mechanisms for practical applications during armed conflict and peacetime;
  • Guide the future of the 1954 Hague Convention and its two Protocols, based on the discussions that will take place during the Conference.
  • Emphasize the importance of multi-stakeholder collaboration.

This conference, will be held on the occasion of the anniversary of the 1954 Hague Convention on 13th -15th of May 2024. It will be held in presentia, with the possibility of following the interventions via live stream on a publicly accessible online platform.

Snippets from the Convention

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