Through its normative actions, UNESCO encourages member States to implement some practical measures in order to prevent illicit traffic of cultural goods.


National Inventory

UNESCO encourages Member States to establish a national inventory system of cultural goods, by using, for instance, the Object Identification (Object ID) standard. It does represent the first and primordial stage, as without any specific inventory, stolen cultural goods' property may not be proved.

The Object Identification (Object ID) standard, elaborated by the J. Paul Getty Trust, contributes to describe the most specifically possible cultural objects and thus, facilitate their identification in case of theft or illicit export, or their recomposing in case of partial destruction. There is a minimum standard; in most cases, it complements inventories, made according others standards.

Few human and financial resources are allocated to inventory processes. 

UNESCO and ICCROM organize training workshops on the use of Object ID standard.


Capacity building

UNESCO supports States' capacity building concerning the fight against illicit traffic of cultural goods, by organizing training workshops on UNESCO’s standard-setting instruments and practical tools for protecting cultural heritage objects and fighting against illicit traffic of cultural property.

The training workshops target not only cultural heritage professionals, but also professions responsible in fighting against cultural goods' traffic such as magistrates or police and custom agents.

For each of the meetings, a wide range of teaching materials was provided to the participants, including the UNESCO handbook on legal and practical measures against illicit trafficking in cultural property (available in six languages), and specific information kits on the other UNESCO relevant Conventions.


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