Responding to restrictions of movement due to the pandemic and to the growing need for online training materials, UNESCO and the Peace Operations Training Institute (POTI) developed an online course for peacekeepers, military and law enforcement professionals on the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflicts and peace operations. Its virtual launch took place on 10 December, in the margins of the 15th Meeting of the Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict .
This self-paced e-learning course provides a detailed understanding of the international legal framework and use of normative instruments for the protection of cultural property in time of peace, and during and after armed conflict. It aims to support the implementation of international rules by giving detailed explanation and practical examples for men and women to be deployed in peace missions.
Professionals taking the course will be better prepared for the challenge of safeguarding cultural heritage while protecting civilians. Participants learn about their legal obligations to protect cultural property in armed conflict, and prevent it from being destroyed, damaged, looted or illicitly trafficked. Time and again, this proves to be an effective means of building and maintaining peace, and of engaging with local communities in the course of military and peace operations. Once having passed the examination at the end of the course, the participants will be awarded with a certificate.
Protection of our common heritage is at the core of UNESCO’s mandate. This new and unique online course provides a tool to clarify the role of cultural property protection in achieving long-lasting peace and social cohesion and assist States Parties to the 1954 Convention for the protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two Protocols to response to the needs of the field and meet the major challenges of today, among which conflict prevention and management are at the forefront.