First NATO conference on Cultural Property Protection
NATO Office of the Secretary General Human Security Unit, NATO and Cultural Property Protection – Embracing New Challenges in the Era of Identity Wars, 15—16 April, NATO Headquarters, Brussels.
NATO Human Security Unit at the Office of the NATO Secretary General hosted the first conference in NATO HQ on NATO and Cultural Property Protection. The Conference aimed at demonstrating NATO political awareness and exploring the necessity of this topic in future NATO operations and missions:
“The preamble to the North Atlantic Treaty states that the Alliance is “Determined to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilization of their people”. The concern for cultural Property stands as a core NATO value including the moral obligation to respect other people’s values and preserve Cultural property for future generations. Allied nations are thus also all committed to the international conventions related to the protection of cultural property.
The devastating effect of armed conflict on Cultural Heritage is well known. However, recent developments in global conflict dynamics and warfighting moves the military relevance of Cultural property beyond protection. Today, Cultural Heritage has become a critical dimension of the military geography and has thus entered the domain of military strategy, operation and tactics.”
Day two included a smaller workshop that explored the relevance of NATO policy on Cultural Property Protection as well as how Cultural Property Protection is a specific topic within the framework of Protection of Civilians (POC) within the framework of NATO's definitions.
The conference also noticed the finalization of NATO Bi-Strategic Command Directive, ‘Implementing Cultural Property in NATO Operations and Missions’. The directive provides direction and guidance for implementing CPP in the NATO command structure and is applicable to Allied Command Operations (ACO), Allied Command Transformation (ACT), their commanders, implementers and practitioners, as well as to forces assigned to NATO-led or supported operations and missions.
CHAC assisted NATO with conceptual and organizational support for the conference, which was moderated by CHAC director, Frederik Rosén. CHAC researcher Joanne McCafferty also attended the conference.