Woman carving a stone

CPF funded project led by World Monuments Fund

‘The Cultural Protection Fund has been integral in efforts to protect cultural heritage. One of the programme’s focusses is the intangible heritage and identities of the Yazidi community, supporting projects in music and filmmaking, among others.’



Life cycle



Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, UK


Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, British Council


To provide opportunities for economic and social development through building capacity to foster, safeguard and promote cultural heritage at risk due to conflict and climate change.


In 2016, the CPF was set up as a partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to protect vital heritage at risk in the Middle East and North Africa. The project focused on creating sustainable opportunities for economic and social development in twelve countries (Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey & Yemen). Recently, the programme has expanded to include the protection of Cultural Heritage at risk due to climate change in East Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda).


There has been a huge demand for CPF; funding rounds have received over 1000 expressions of interest since launching in 2016. Over £32m has been awarded to 80 projects, protecting a diversity of cultural heritage including buildings and monuments, paintings, artefacts, languages, traditions, music and culinary heritage. Grant awards range from £30k to £3m, and delivery partners range from small, locally-based NGOs, museums and libraries to big international NGOs and Universities. Alongside heritage protection, the CPF has brokered meaningful relationships with some of the world’s most persecuted groups, including Yazidis, Syrian refugees and displaced Bedouin communities. The fund has provided skills training and built capacity in the heritage workforce and encouraged communities to value their cultural heritage. 


From 2016, over 45,000 people have undertaken activities that increase understanding of, or engagement with, cultural heritage. More than 15,000 people in multiple locations have received new skills through training and capacity-building workshops; including stonemasonry, archaeology, heritage preservation, traditional music, digital skills and technologies. For the last year of the programme, there have been over 900 participants trained in archiving, restoration and design, with up to 42,500 restorations across historic buildings, artifacts, digitising oral stories, music sheets and photography.

In 2019, CPF published two films of historian and broadcaster Bettany Hughes documenting two CPF initiatives that worked with Syrian refugees. These were broadcast on BBC News and BBC World News to an estimated audience of 100 million viewers.

The 2020-21 programme has launched pilot projects in East Africa, focussing on heritage sites at risk due to climate change as well as funding partnerships operating in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The fund has also commissioned three phases of research and evaluation, looking at the impact of CPF and best practice in heritage protection.

Mutual benefit

The Cultural Protection Fund (CPF) promotes a people-centred approach to Cultural Protection. It encourages partnerships at an institutional level by using our global network and cultural relations approach. Half of CPF projects are led by UK organisations, encouraging international knowledge exchange on common issues, best-practice sharing and influence on heritage protection processes and policies worldwide. The CPF is connected to a wider network of heritage protection funders and agencies, feeding into and benefitting from a wide range of research and intelligence on heritage protection. Heritage protection is a global, shared challenge and the learning and evaluation from CPF projects is fed back into a network to create better conditions for heritage protection and increased understanding of its positive impact on individuals and societies.