Working with international partners in times of conflict and crisis

IIC believes that conservation is of great value, by looking after our cultural heritage and our own and others’ cultural identity we are helping to improve the richness and quality of life for everyone.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 27, states that 'the protection of culture is a human rights imperative'. Those who adhere to international humanitarian law, and other relevant international instruments, declarations and conventions, such as the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, acknowledge that damage to cultural sites belonging to any people whatsoever means damage to the cultural heritage of all humankind. 

UNESCO created in 1946 is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It is a part of the United Nations.The General Conference of UNESCO adopted on 16 November 1972 the Recommendation concerning the Protection at National Level, of the Cultural and Natural Heritage.

There are a number of international advisory bodies to UNESCO, such as ICCROM, IUCN and ICOMOS that support the protection of world heritage. IIC (itself founded from the ashes of war) is not a formal advisory body but liaises with a number of  international partners who are well placed to provide direct support, including funding, to heritage and conservation professionals in times of conflict and disaster, including:

Approach to communications and collaboration

IIC understands that many conservators and conservation professionals are working in volatile and increasingly political and hostile environments around the world - their safety is paramount. As such, IIC follows a "do no harm" approach aligning with the humanitarian principles of "independence, neutrality, integrity and impartiality" in its communications, news reporting and social media in respect to wars, conflicts and disasters, which is underpinned by our mission, values and responsibilities and in line with our objectives as an international professional body and Learned Society. 

We will continue to support international efforts that work to protect people and their heritage in such situations, by disseminating and where appropriate, and where it does not duplicate but helps the efforts of others, work collaboratively to develop resources and programmes to assist conservators and conservation professionals in times of crisis. 

Support for members 

IIC tries to move fast and flexibly for its members, including those displaced or seeking refuge from war, conflict and disaster. Its stipends can be used to assist or co-fund scholarships, internship costs as well as more practical support. The Opportunities Fund accepts applications at any time with a swift response where there is urgent need. Read full details of how to apply or donate to the fund here.

If someone cannot afford IIC membership in order to apply for a grant, we will do all that we can to help applicants when they get in touch. Contact us to discuss at

New donations to the fund expand our ability to step up and help more conservators and cultural heritage professionals around the world.