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 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 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 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  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 Resolution 2347.