The International Council of Museums (ICOM) would like to acknowledge the significant outpouring of support from the global museum community for the protection and valorisation of Ukrainian cultural heritage since the start of the invasion by armed forces of the Russian Federation. ICOM expresses its gratitude for the many offers of assistance received since the beginning of the conflict, a testament to the solidarity between the museum professionals and cultural actors in general.
On 24 February, in an official statement ICOM strongly condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and ICOM has recalled the fundamental role of culture and museums in building lasting peace between nations in a subsequent statement on March 9. Throughout this, ICOM Secretariat has been in close contact with the National Committees in the region to understand the immediate needs of Ukrainian museum professionals. And the ICOM Network will remain available to support its members and museum institutions as long as this crisis lasts.
Following these statements, ICOM is currently working closely with its international institutional partners and its National Committees who are organising international responses. Through meetings with these partners, it has been possible to share information on initiatives commenced by the global museum community to safeguard Ukrainian cultural heritage, as well as activities to welcome museum professionals forced to flee their country. In particular, ICOM has been supporting the efforts of its National Committee in Poland, and has proved ICOM Poland with emergency funding for these actions.
For several decades, ICOM has launched various activities in response to conflicts in different parts of the world and it is important to emphasize that ICOM’s mobilization for the protection of the cultural heritage of Ukraine is in line with these previous activities. With a view to protecting heritage from illicit trafficking in conflict zones, ICOM launched Red Lists of Cultural Objects in danger for Afghanistan (2006), Iraq ( 2003 and 2015), Mali (2016) and Yemen (2018); and several capacity building projects for museums in the Sahel have been implemented in coordination with ICOM Burkina Faso and ICOM Mali (2019 and 2022) within the framework of a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Zones (ALIPH).
Today, given the many offers of direct aid received, a new dimension to the mutual assistance that ICOM members, and museums in general, can provide is needed. That is why ICOM has decided to open a call for donations, through which these offers of support can be coordinated at international level.
This Call for Donations is intended to support Ukrainian museums and museum professionals, it is a supplementary action by ICOM to support the protection of heritage, one which ICOM hopes will lay the groundwork for future actions to protect heritage around the world.
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