On 31 January 2022 in the Louvre, Paris, ICOM and the International alliance for the protection of heritage in conflict areas (ALIPH) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) concentrating on the organisations continued shared objective of protecting heritage, with a particular focus on conflict and post-conflict zones.
ICOM and ALIPH are fortunate to already have a strong relationship, and have worked closely together on various operational projects: including a plan to support the heritage protection sector in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic (which, with ALIPH’s support, saw the ICOM Secretariat work closely with the ICOM National Committees in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Nigeria to support museums in the region in 2020); and the ICOM Heritage Protection Department is currently implementing a follow up project with ICOM Burkina Faso and ICOM Mali to strengthen museums in the Sahel region and combat the illicit trafficking of cultural property.
The threats to heritage are manifold and, given the climate crisis and changing geopolitical dynamics in many regions across the globe, they have been increasing. That is why it is imperative that museums strengthen their capacities in emergency preparedness, secure their collections with preventative conservation and enhanced documentation, ensure their premises are secured from intruders, and that the safety of their staff and visitors is guaranteed through increased personnel staff training. In this respect, ICOM will continue to support its members across the globe to achieve these aims.
The MOU, signed by ICOM and ALIPH representatives on the occasion of ALIPH’s Second Donors’ Conference, represents an important strengthening of an already strong relationship. Under the terms of the MOU, ICOM and ALIPH will continue to respond to the needs of museums in conflict or post conflict areas, with the implementation of protection and conservation projects.
And in recognition of ICOMs strong and unique network of almost 50,000 museum members, both organisations will continue the exchange of information and knowledge to help ensure the protection of museums in conflict and post-conflict areas, and to combat the illicit trafficking in cultural goods. In addition, both organisations will continue to strengthen their coordination of joint responses to crisis situations which museums in conflict or post-conflict areas.
ICOM looks forward to continuing its close partnership with ALIPH and accompanying the museums and ICOM National Committees in their projects for Heritage Protection.