Trafficking and Looting of Cultural Heritage

The subject gained significant traction in the past months with a draft opinion by the European Parliament's CULT Committee, an agreement between UNESCO and ICCROM and an appeal launched in November.

The CULT Committee's <link http: sides _blank external-link-new-window external link in new>draft opinion on Cross-border restitution claims of works of art and cultural goods looted in armed conflicts and wars. The five suggestions call for an update and clarification of existing policies and "urge[] the Commission to proceed to a thorough mapping of existing databases and to envisage the creation of a central database that takes account of the available information" as well the introduction of a common cataloguing system and register of transactions. This particularly aims to support museums in their work - i.e. performing provenance research with due dilligence.

On 13 October an <link http: new en media-services single-view news unesco_and_iccrom_join_forces_to_protect_cultural_heritage external-link-new-window external link in>agreement between UNESCO and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) was signed in a new effort to address mounting threats to cultural properties worldwide.

At the <link https: news unesco-member-states-reaffirm-their-commitment-unesco-close-general-conference external-link-new-window external link in new>39th UNESCO General Conference, the organisation revised its strategy for its work in protecting culture and cultural pluralism in the event of armed conflict. The revised  <link https: heritage-at-risk strategy-culture-armed-conflict _blank>strategy now additionally covers natural disasters. Furthermore, an appeal on Protecting Culture and Promoting Cultural Pluralism as a key to lasting peace was also launched. It calls for culture, cultural heritage and diversity to be factored into international humanitarian, security and peace-building policies and operations and builds on the UN Security Council <link http: s res _blank ext>Resolution 2347.