Since 2010, ICCROM has provided 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 1 000 cultural first aiders in 122 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;
- Upon 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 were provided. ICCROM supported staff time and mission costs, and the Smithsonian supported the cost of the training. Rapid damage and risk assessment forms were also created in response to Haiti's devastating earthquakes in August 2021.
- Philippines, 2013, 2022 – Assistance with post-event damage and risk assessment after typhoon Haiyan and earthquake Bohol (twin disasters) was provided. UNESCO supported the costs of assessment missions and subsequent technical meetings, and ICCROM provided staff time and expert assistance.
In response to the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit the northern Philippines in July 2022, we conducted a workshop for an expert team at the Escuela Taller de Filipinas on post-earthquake damage and risk assessment for safeguarding cultural heritage. In partnership with Escuela Taller de Filipinas, FAR is developing a collaborative damage and risk assessment methodology for heritage sites damaged or at risk of destruction. Damage and risk assessment forms for movable, immovable and intangible heritage are being co-developed on a web and mobile app and field-tested in areas most affected by the earthquake.
- South Sudan, 2013 – Damage and risk assessment and emergency salvage for the records collection of the national archive in South Sudan were provided. Technical input and advice for post-war recovery of the archives and design of the new building were given. Costs were supported by UNESCO.
- Syria, 2013 – Online training on first aid operations was provided to Directorate-General for Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) staff in collaboration with ICOMOS-ICORP. ICCROM provided staff time for the initiative.
- Nepal, 2015–2016 – ICCROM assisted with launching 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 helped set up a working model for visible temporary storages, accessible to visitors, for ensuring business continuity of museums. ICCROM received funds from the Smithsonian, the Prince Claus Fund and the Government of Norway. It activated emergency funds of up to 5 000 euros to support staff mission costs and purchase emergency supplies.
- Myanmar, 2016 – Assistance was provided with post-earthquake damage and risk assessment at the site of Bagan. An 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 was held. Sessions were conducted with the local Buddhist communities to ensure continuity of intangible heritage. Staff mission and workshop costs were supported by UNESCO; ICCROM supported mission costs of an expert in wall painting conservation.
- Iraq, 2017 – A joint Damage and Risk Assessment training was conducted for Department of Archaeology staff in collaboration with the Smithsonian Cultural Heritage Rescue after the liberation of Mosul. Mission costs were supported by the Smithsonian.
- India, 2018, 2020 – Following massive floods in Southern India in 2018, 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 was held 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 the FAC (now FAR) programme to support mission costs and purchase emergency supplies.
After the 2020 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.
- Brazil, 2018 – Following a request from UNESCO's Emergency Preparedness and Response Unit, the 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.
- Croatia, 2020 – Online advice and orientation for museum leaders in Croatia was provided 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 were provided. A small grant for the purchase of emergency supplies and safety gear was supported by the ICCROM-Sharjah Regional Office.
- Northwestern Europe (Belgium and Germany), 2021 –
In the aftermath of devastating floods in Northwestern Europe, ICCROM joined hands with its long-standing partner, the 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)
- Pakistan, 2022 – In response to the devastating floods and torrential rains that left one-third of Pakistan underwater, FAR conducted a training workshop for the Antiquities Wing of Culture Tourism & Antiquities Department, Government of Sindh; Hazara University; Provincial Disaster Management Authorities; and Aga Khan Agency of Habitat on conducting post-flood damage and risk assessment for safeguarding cultural heritage. FAR customized damage and risk assessment forms for movable, immovable, archaeological and intangible heritage on its web and mobile app and deployed them on the ground for field testing and emergency documentation in areas most affected by the floods.
- Sudan, 2023 –
- In light of the conflict occurring in Sudan, in June 2023, FAR co-led an emergency workshop and forum with the Egyptian Heritage Rescue Foundation (EHRF) and Mallinson Architects at the Child Museum in Cairo, Egypt. In cooperation with UNESCO Cairo, UNESCO Khartoum and ICCROM’s Regional Centre in Sharjah, the workshop provided participants with a step-by-step methodology for conducting systematic situation analysis and procedures for assessing risks to movable and immovable heritage in times of crisis. A damage and risk assessment form tailored to the context of Sudan was also made available on FAR’s web and mobile app.
- In July 2023, ICCROM-FAR and ICCROM Sharjah, in close collaboration with the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums (NCAM), UNESCO and the Egyptian Heritage Rescue Foundation (EHRF), held a second workshop on crisis response, risk mitigation and first aid for Sudan's endangered heritage. This five-day workshop trained more than 20 multidisciplinary heritage professionals and staff representing NCAM to mount a risk-informed crisis response using ICCROM's field-tested tools and resources. It also developed capacities on the ground to reduce risks and provide first aid to endangered cultural heritage, as well as to set up coordination mechanisms among national and international stakeholders.
The FAR Programme also provides advisory services in areas of active conflict, such as Ukraine.
- In April 2022, ICCROM – in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine (MinCult), the Maidan Museum and the Heritage Emergency Response Initiative (HERI) – organized a two-day online workshop on developing a collaborative damage and risk assessment methodology for heritage sites damaged or at risk of destruction. A mobile and web-based app has been developed on a secure data collection app, JotForm, to deploy the damage and risk assessment forms tailored to the context of Ukraine.
- In partnership with UNESCO and the Maidan Museum, ICCROM translated the publication Endangered Heritage: Emergency Evacuation of Heritage Collections (Спадщина у небезпеці – Екстрена евакуація культурних цінностей) into Ukrainian. This resource offers a field-tested, simple workflow for the emergency evacuation of valuable objects, covering topics like emergency documentation of collections, temporary storage and safe transport.
- ICCROM, with the support of the Prince Claus Fund and in collaboration with HERI, is also in the process of translating the First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis Handbook and Toolkit into Ukrainian.
- In July 2022, ICOMOS and ICCROM undertook a joint mission to Ukraine to support the efforts made by the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, as well as heritage organizations and professionals in the country, in the current conflict situation. They visited many affected sites and carried out a fieldwork test using our newly developed cultural heritage damage and risk assessment app.
- In response to the findings of the mission and the needs identified after the workshop, FAR developed a web and mobile-based application that can be used both online and offline to systematically gather damage and risk data post-emergencies. The app has been customized for and field-tested at 17 heritage places in Ukraine, the Philippines and Pakistan.
FAR actively seeks partners to field test the damage and risk assessment web and mobile-based applications in different emergency contexts.
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 to mitigate emerging risks. You can use the templates shared here, customize 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