UNESCO’s Cooperation with the European Union to Fight Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property

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Since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in 2012, the EU and UNESCO have undertaken a number of joint initiatives to strengthen the regulatory environment and promote capacity-development, supported by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (DG EAC).

The current project "Inter-regional and crosscutting action aiming to strengthen the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property" is a continuation of a series of projects related to the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property.

Click here to find out more about the previous projects (2016-2019).
Click here for resources and outcomes of the EU-funded projects.

Inter-regional and crosscutting action aiming to strengthen the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property (2019-2022)

The current project offers capacity development for a diversity of professionals on a broadened geographical scope. In addition to the EU Member States, the Members States in the Western Balkans and the partner countries of the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) South are invited to actively participate in the project.

 

International Conference ''Strengthening the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property - a UNESCO/EU Conference''

On 9 June 2022, UNESCO organised, in partnership with the European Union, a one-day Conference that gathered experts from academia, the art market, the financial sector, judiciary and law enforcement, as well as international organizations and government officials to share experiences and discuss concrete measures to strengthen the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property worldwide.

Building upon the outcomes of the EU-funded activities and the Conference of 14 September 2021, this International Conference addressed different dimensions of interregional and interdiscipliary cooperation as well as educational and awareness-raising efforts.

Programme EN | FR

Biographies of the moderators and the panelists EN

Announcement | Conference video 

 

UNESCO Campus “How to fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property?” – A Students’ Workshop of European UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks.

On 31 May, on the occasion of the European Year of Youth 2022, postgraduate students of UNESCO Chair and UNITWIN programmes discussed how to enhance knowledge and skills needed to fight illicit trafficking of cultural property. Together with leading experts in the field, university students explored the different dimensions of the subject with a view to better integrate the protection of cultural property and the fight against its illicit trafficking in their training and research. 

Workshop Video

EN (Available soon)

 

UNESCO/EU Workshop on the Role and Means of the Financial Sector in fighting illicit trafficking of cultural property

 

Videos of the workshop sessions:

EN     FR     Introductory Session
EN     FR     Session 1 / Regulatory Frameworks to fight money laundering and illicit trafficking
                    of cultural property - theory and practice
EN     FR     Session 2 / Practical Examples and Solutions to fight money laundering and illicit
                    trafficking of cultural property / Concluding remarks

 

How can the financial sector fight the illicit trafficking of cultural property and associated money-laundering? What is its role? What are its tools? What are its obstacles?

On 27 January 2022, UNESCO organised an online workshop to answer all these questions and more, with the support of the European Union, bringing together experts, researchers, representatives of the European Central Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction, the European Banking Authority, the European Banking Federation, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and other members for enriching debates.

Programme EN | FR 
Biographies EN 
Announcement | More information

                                                                                     

Workshop for the European Neighbourhood Instrument South partner countries on the implementation of the UN resolutions on the fight against illicit trafficking in cultural goods and its links with the financing of terrorism 

 

Videos of the workshop sessions:

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

On 28 October 2021, UNESCO, in the framework of its cooperation with the European Union, hosted a capacity-development workshop for EU Neighbourhood South Partner countries (ENI) addressing the implementation of UN Security Council and UN General Assembly resolutions relating to the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property. 

Programme ENFR

To know more about the resources and the results of this workshop, click here

 

Joint UNESCO/ICOM workshop for European museum and cultural heritage professionals

Videos of the workshop sessions:

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

On 4 and 5 October 2021, UNESCO, in partnership with ICOM, hosted a capacity-development workshop for museum and cultural heritage professionals from European Union (EU) Member States. The workshop aimed to raise awareness on cross-cutting cooperation and to strengthen the network of museum and cultural heritage experts to enhance mechanisms to fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property in Europe and beyond.

Programme ENFR

To know more about the resources and the results of this workshop, click here

 

Peer-to-Peer Workshops

The peer-to-peer exchange was developed in a pilot format of several sessions to facilitate the sharing of experiences and good practices among professionals and thus enhance inter-regional cooperation among three States Parties to the 1970 Convention:

  • Algeria as representative of the ENI South partner countries and a source country,
  • Serbia as representative of the Western Balkans and a transit country
  • The Netherlands as representative of the EU Member States and a destination country.

 

 

 

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

Today's stolen object is tomorrow's lost memory

 

Cultural goods: a particular case

 

Preventive measures 

 

Trafficking and financing of terrorism

 

The role of the experts 

 

Online sales platforms

 

Cross-cutting cooperation