UNESCO/EU Resources

Explore all the resources developed in the framework of the three projects implemented by UNESCO thanks to the cooperation with and financial support of the European Union since 2016.
On 14 September 2021, UNESCO in partnership with the European Union held the international conference "The fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property for a reinforced Global Dialogue" as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the 1970 Convention. 


Interregional and cross-cutting action to strengthen the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property (2019-2022)

Newsletter of the 1970 Convention

June 2022 EN | FR
April 2022 EN | FR 
February 2022 EN | FR
December 2021 EN | FR 
September 2021 EN

UNESCO/EU Workshop on the Role and Means of the Financial Sector in fighting illicit trafficking of cultural property (27 January 2022)

Introductory Session
Session 1 / Regulatory Frameworks to fight money laundering and illicit trafficking of cultural property - theory
and practice

Session 2 / Practical Examples and Solutions to fight money laundering and illicit trafficking of cultural
property / Concluding remarks


UNESCO capacity development workshop for European Neighbourhood South partner countries (28 October 2021)

Session 1 / Introductory Session - UNESCO and European Union in the fight against illicit trafficking  
Session 2 / Snapshot of an ENI South Country
Session 3 / The United Nations Office against Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
Session 4 / The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism
Session 5 / INTERPOL
Session 6 / Training on Cultural Heritage, Crime and Security

UNESCO/ICOM capacity development workshop for European museum and cultural heritage professionals (4-5 October 2021)

Session 1 / Opening – Museums and their role in fighting illicit traffic
Session 2 / Collections’ Management and Preventive Conservation
Session 3 / Due Diligence and Practical Tools 
Session 4 / Cooperation with Law Enforcement Agencies
Session 5 / International Cooperation and Education

Testimonies from Peer-to-Peer exchanges (November 2020 - June 2021)

Testimony of Nawel Dahmani Younsi, Algeria
Testimony of Flora van Regteren Altena, The Netherlands
Testimony of Jelena Bratonožić Stanisavljević, Serbia


Facets of the fight against illicit trafficking in cultural property - experts' voices

Videos from 2021

Cultural goods: a particular case 1'31" Interviews with Vincent Michel, David Toubalem and Sophie Delepierre

Preventive measures 2'02" Interviews with Vincent Michel, Sophie Delepierre and Mouna Hermassi
Trafficking and financing of terrorism 1'44" Interviews with Vincent Michel and Kholoud Hussein
The role of the experts 1'45" Interviews with Vincent Michel and Dominique Michelet
Online sales platforms 1'34" Interviews with Matthew Seaver and Anna Skaldawska
Cross-cutting cooperation 0'55" Interviews with David Toubalem, Sophie Delepierre and Mouna Hermassi

Training of judiciary and law enforcement officers in the fight against illicit trafficking in cultural property (2018-2019)

Toolkit "Fighting the illicit trafficking of cultural property: a toolkit for European judiciary and law enforcement" (other versions: FR | ESP | SRB | ARB)

Programme of the (online) training workshop
Outcomes documents


Engaging the European art market in the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property (2017- 2019)

Online knowledge sharing platform (MOOC)
Vincent Negri, The protection of heritage in times of war and peacetime, Part 1 | Part 2
Edouard Planche, International Convention against trafficking in cultural property
Marina Schneider, The 1995 UNIDROIT Convention: an additional agreement to the 1970 Convention
Catherine Chadelat, Due Diligence and good faith
Walter Zampieri, Due Diligence in European Law
Juan José Aguila Navarro, What should you do if a suspicious object is detected in a private sale? Part 1 | Part 2
Michael Will, Final recommendations on a suspicious object


Capacity building conference (20-21 March 2018)

Conference programme
Conference summary "Fighting illicit trafficking in cultural objects, searching for provenance and exercising due diligence in the European Union”



Video "End trafficking, save culture"
Video ''The trail of stolen cultural objects - stop trafficking and save culture'' (published in the framework of the EU-funded project "Emergency Safeguarding of Syrian Heritage" 2018)


European Union Regulations and Directives on illicit trafficking in cultural goods

Every day, somewhere in the world, a cultural object is looted, stolen from a museum, illegally excavated or smuggled across the border. The European Union (EU) is a sensitive region for illicit trafficking as it is both a source and a transit area as well as a key destination for cultural property trafficked from all over the world. Next to the 1970 UNESCO Convention and an evolving body of national legislation, EU-wide directives and regulations have been put in place to govern the movement of cultural property, and many EU Member States have set up specialised control authorities to investigate and combat illicit trade.

  • 2021:

On 14 April 2021, the European Commission presented the new EU Strategy to combat organised crime, which includes developing an Action Plan to tackle the illegal trade in cultural goods as organised crime.

  • 2020: 

On 16 September 2020, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution on EU-African security cooperation in the Sahel region, West Africa and the Horn of Africa (2020/2002(INI)) highlighting the major challenge of the emergence of new forms of economies including the smuggling of cultural objects.

  • 2019:

Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council adopted of 17 April 2019 on the introduction and import of cultural goods.
In addition to the European considerations on terrorism, the European Union also put in place, in January 2019, a Resolution dealing with cross-border claims for the restitution of works of art and cultural property stolen during looting perpetrated in times of armed conflict and war acting as well as the appropriation of war treasures thus echoing the UNESCO Convention of 1970 but also the Hague Convention of 1954.

  • 2018: 

2018 was the European Year of Cultural Heritage in the European Union, during which activities and events were organised across Europe to encourage community involvement in the fight against illicit trafficking in cultural goods. This year also saw the implementation of measures to recognise the importance of cultural heritage for communities and societies and measures against terrorism (European Parliament Resolution of 12 December 2018 on findings and recommendations of the Special Committee on Terrorism (2018/2044(INI)).

Measures have also been taken to dry up terrorism's resources from such trafficking (European Parliament recommendation to the Council, the Commission and the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on cutting the sources of income for jihadists – targeting the financing of terrorism (2017/2203(INI)).

  • 2016:

 On 2 February 2016, the European Commission put in place an Action Plan for strengthening the fight against terrorist financing and thus also contribute to protecting cultural heritage threatened by transnational organised crime, based on the recognition that terrorist groups use illicit excavations of archaeological sites to obtain cultural goods as a source of income.

  • 2014:

In 2014, the European Parliament and the Council adopted Directive 2014/60/EU on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a Member State and amending Regulation which is a recast of Directive 93/7/EEC and amends Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 on the Internal Market Information System.

  • 2012: 

Cooperation between the European Union and UNESCO is established, benefiting from existing networks and platforms such as EU-CULTNET created by the Council of the European Union in October 2012 with the aim of preventing and combating crime related to cultural goods.

  • 2003:

In July 2003, the European Council adopted Regulation 1210/2003 prohibiting the import, export or sale of Iraqi cultural heritage or rare archaeological, historical, cultural, scientific or religious objects. Council of Europe legal instruments concerning illicit trafficking in cultural property


Council of Europe legal instruments concerning illicit trafficking in cultural property

  • 2017

The Council of Europe, as part of its policy to combat illicit trafficking in cultural property, adopted the Nicosia Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property on 19 May 2017. This Convention will enter into force on 1 April 2022. It is the only convention dealing with the criminalisation of illicit trafficking in cultural property. 

  • 2005

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted the Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society, better known as the Faro Convention, on 13 October 2005, in which the importance of cultural heritage for communities and society was highlighted.