Strengthening mechanisms to combat illicit trafficking of cultural property in Africa - Training workshop
The UNESCO Dakar Office, in partnership with the WCO, INTERPOL and Niger, is organizing a training workshop from April 27th to 30th 2020 in Dakar to build the capacities of museum/heritage professionals as well as law enforcement and security forces including customs and police in six countries: Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger and Senegal. This training is part of a programme to strengthen mechanisms to combat illicit trafficking of cultural property in Africa, which has been under way since 2015.
Over the past 15 years, there has been a resurgence of illicit trafficking of cultural property, particularly in areas affected by armed conflict, which has become a matter of major concern to the international community. In a Sahelian context increasingly weakened by the threat of armed groups and the looting of heritage and in order to respond to the current challenges of peace and security in the region, UNESCO is positioning itself as a focal point through a programme to strengthen the mechanisms for fighting illicit trafficking of cultural property by bringing together a group of diverse actors (art experts, national and international museums; heritage professionals, customs, police, legal experts, etc.).
The review of the actions implemented by the UNESCO Dakar regional office to date highlights the need to consolidate the cooperation mechanisms between the various key actors involved in the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property while maintaining an inclusive and non-sectoral approach. For this reason, the Dakar office, in partnership with the WCO, INTERPOL and Senegal, is organizing an in-depth training workshop that will bring together customs, police and museum professionals in order to harmonize the levels of knowledge between actors and to stabilize an effective and operational co-ordination network between the different services at the national and regional level.
This four-day training, which is part of a wide-ranging capacity-building programme, will offer both separate and joint sessions in order to consolidate and improve the effectiveness of the coordination network for the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property in Africa, ensure the fluidity of information exchanges, identify and better assign roles and responsibilities between law enforcement and security forces and museum professionals in order to speed up the processing of cases of illicit trafficking.
At the end of the four-day workshop, with the active support of the associated experts, the participants will have acquired a better knowledge of the prevention of illicit trafficking of cultural property, stabilized a coordination system in the event of a customs seizure or police investigation and submitted proposals for a protocol for intervention in the event of restitution. One of the added-values of this workshop will be the identification of appropriate legal measures for the protection of cultural property in the countries concerned and the validation of communication and awareness-raising tools for the launch of a sub-regional campaign to be carried out during the year 2020 among communities and transit points (airports, ports, etc.).
Dakar - Senegal