Since 2010, ICCROM has been providing technical assistance during major or complex emergencies – those classified as L2 and L3 emergencies by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC). The assistance is provided within the ambit of the FAR programme, and where necessary, with the support of other programmes.
The FAR programme has a ready to deploy network of over 800 cultural first aiders in 87 countries, as well as field tested and published methodologies for securing and recovering endangered tangible and intangible heritage. The criteria for intervention are:
- incidents involving substantive damage to cultural heritage, far exceeding the capacity of the affected Member State;
- at the specific request of the affected Member State or a partner institution of ICCROM
Types of emergency assistance offered
Responses provided to date
- Haiti, 2010, 2021– In-crisis training and assistance with post event damage and risk assessment. ICCROM supported staff time and mission costs, the Smithsonian supported the cost of the training. Additionally, Rapid Damage and Risk Assessment forms were created in response to the devastating Earthquakes in Haiti in August 2021.
- Philippines, 2013 – Assistance with post-event damage and risk assessment after typhoon Haiyan and Bohol earthquake (twin disasters). UNESCO supported costs of assessment missions and subsequent technical meetings, ICCROM provided staff time and expert assistance.
- South Sudan, 2013 – Damage and risk assessment as well as emergency salvage for the records collection of the national archive in South Sudan. Technical input and advice for post-war recovery of the archives and design of the new building. Costs supported by UNESCO.
- Syria, 2013 – Online training on first aid operations was provided to the staff of the Directorate-General for Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) in collaboration with ICOMOS-ICORP. ICCROM provided staff time for the initiative.
- Nepal, 2015–2016 – Assistance with launch of a crowd map for first damage and risk assessment, in-crisis training for salvage and stabilization of structures and collections, in-crisis training of volunteers, early recovery planning, coordination mechanisms for post disaster recovery, and help setting up a working model for visible temporary storages, accessible to visitors, for ensuring business continuity of museums. ICCROM received funds from Smithsonian, the Prince Claus Fund and Government of Norway. It activated emergency funds up to 5000 Euro to support staff mission costs and purchase of emergency supplies.
- Myanmar, 2016 – Assistance with post-earthquake damage and risk assessment at the site of Bagan. In-crisis training of local community members, volunteers, and staff at the Department of Archaeology for systematic first aid and emergency stabilization of structures and temple objects. Sessions conducted with the local Buddhist communities for ensuring continuity of intangible heritage. Staff mission and workshops costs supported by UNESCO; ICCROM supported mission costs of an expert inwall painting conservation.
- Iraq, 2017 – Joint Damage and Risk Assessment training of staff at the Department of Archaeology in collaboration with the Smithsonian Cultural Heritage Rescue, after the liberation of Mosul. Mission costs supported by the Smithsonian.
- India, 2018 – Following massive floods in Southern India, ICCROM, in collaboration with ICOMOS India, launched a damage and risk assessment crowd map, which was later used in a Government-led post disaster needs assessment (PDNA). Volunteer training online and in person, organized by the local government and NGOs in collaboration with ICOMOS. ICCROM activated emergency funds of 5 000 Euro allocated within FAC (now FAR) programme to support mission costs and purchase emergency supplies.
- Brazil, 2018 – Following a request from UNESCO’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Unit, FAR programme was invited to send a representative to participate in the on-site damage and risk assessment in the aftermath of a fire incident at the National Museum of Natural History in Brazil.
- India, 2020 – After the super cyclone Amphan, which devastated two states in India and World Heritage sites in India and Bangladesh, ICCROM assisted National Disaster Response Force and local NGOs in running a rapid needs assessment, which helped provide emergency assistance for cultural bearers and the affected natural and cultural heritage.
- Croatia, 2020 – Online advice and orientation for museum leaders in Croatia with the aim to inform decision making and the setting up of inter-agency coordination for post-earthquake recovery of affected museum collections and historic buildings. UNESCO and INTERCOM collaborated.
- Lebanon, 2020 – Online advice and guidance for damage and risk assessment, emergency stabilization of structures, technology enabled emergency documentation, salvage, and temporary storage of affected collections in museums and libraries. Small grant for purchase of emergency supplies and safety gear from Sharjah Office.
- Northwestern Europe (Belgium and Germany), 2021 – Ready to Share Post-Flood Assessment Forms
In the aftermath of devastating floods in Northwestern Europe, ICCROM joined hands with its long-standing partner, Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA), Belgium, to organize a series of consultations and developed on-site damage and risk assessment form for movable, immovable and intangible heritage.
Furthermore, a detailed post-event on-site damage and risk assessment kit was developed in collaboration with ICORP Turkey. The following tools are free to download and share:
- Post-Event On-Site Damage and Risk Assessment Kit (English)
- Post-Flood Rapid Damage Assessment for Movable Heritage (English | French | Dutch)
- Post-Flood Rapid Damage Assessment for Immovable Heritage (English | French | Dutch)
- Post-Flood Rapid Damage Assessment for Intangible Heritage (English | French | Dutch)
The FAR Programme is also providing advisory services in areas of conflict, such as Ukraine.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic knows no boundaries. It disrupted daily life in numerous ways all around the world. FAR developed a call to action to understand the impacts of COVID-19 on tangible and intangible cultural heritage and in order to mitigate emerging risks. Use the templates shared here, customise them to your context, gather data on secondary risks, monitor impacts and assess needs.
Assessment Template for Movable Heritage
Assessment Template for Immovable Heritage
Assessment Template for Intangible Heritage