What is the ICDO ?

Presentation of the ICDO sponsored by Swiss Dragons
What is the ICDO?

Surgeon-General Georges SAINT-PAUL (1870-1937)
Founder of the Association of « Geneva Zones » in Paris, on 28 May 1931

The origin of ICDO dates back to 1931.
It was in Paris that the French Surgeon-General George Saint-Paul founded the Association of "Geneva Zones", from which the present International Civil Defence Organisation originated.

After the war of 1914-1918, Saint-Paul remained marked by the atrocity and cruelty that the population had suffered.

This gave him the idea to create safety areas, or neutralized zones, where civilians, in particular women, children, the elderly and the infirm, could seek refuge in times of war.

Soon after its creation, the membership of the Association grew to 5,000, including men and women of all backgrounds, life conditions, views and religions. This was considered a big success at the time!

In June 1935, the French Parliament recognized the Association.
In 1936, in line with its mandate to work for the humanization of armed conflict, the Association launched a call for the establishment of areas of refuge for the population during the Spanish Civil War, the Sino-Japanese War (1937) and later in France during the Second World War.

Some milestones in the history of ICDO

The "Association des Lieux de Genève" is founded in Paris by the French Surgeon-General Georges Saint-Paul. Its aim is to create neutralized zones or open towns in which some categories of the civilian population (women, children, the infirm and the elderly) could seek refuge during wartime. It also aims to protect historical monuments and cultural assets.

The "Association des Lieux de Genève" is recognized by the French Chamber of Deputies.

At the request of Saint-Paul, the "Association internationale des Lieux de Genève" (Lieux de Genève International Association) is transferred to Geneva and becomes "The International Association for the Protection of Civilian Populations and Historic Buildings in Wartime".

On the initiative of the Government of Switzerland, a Diplomatic Conference is convened. During this Conference, three Geneva Conventions are revised and the fourth - relative to the protection of civilian persons in time of war - is adopted and signed. The new Fourth Convention envisages safety zones and localities for the civilian population.

1st International Conference of the Association of Geneva Zones, Berlin (21-23 June).

2nd International Congress of the Association of Geneva Zones, Florence (10-13 January).

The International Association of Geneva Zones becomes the International Civil Defence Organisation (ICDO) and is given new status as a non-governmental organisation with the following objectives:

- establishing liaison between national civil defence organisations;

- undertaking and promoting studies and research on population protection matters;

- facilitating the exchange of experience and the coordination of efforts in the area of disaster prevention, preparedness and intervention.

Swiss Dragons produced this film and permit the ICDO to use it.
The IT remains Swiss Dragons's.


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