Regional Training Workshop on the fight against trafficking in cultural property for Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia

© UNESCO/Delepierre

Casablanca, Morocco, 27-29 November 2013

This workshop was organized to contribute to the establishment of a long-term strategy on all topics relating to culture, and in particular to the fight against trafficking of cultural property.

I – Training activities

The workshop provided an integral approach to the fight against illicit trafficking, which included a legal training composed of three modules covering international and national legislation, as well as the modalities for return and restitution. It also delivered two operational training modules, on the one hand on the use of tools, developed among others by UNESCO, UNIDROIT, WCO and Interpol, and on the other hand on the role of the police and customs in the fight against illicit trafficking; a module implemented in close cooperation with the Spanish police.

Main objectives

  • Advocating international Conventions, in particular the 1970 Convention and the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention, as well as the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two protocols, and the 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage;
  • Reviewing the existing national legislation on cultural property protection, as well as the current state of inventories and the specialized services;
  • Building awareness on the fight against the circulation of cultural property among representatives of the art market and the general public;

© UNESCO/Delepierre

  • Developing efficient regional strategies to improve the networks among different police and custom bodies to share information in this specific field;
  • Strengthening police capacities in order to prevent illicit trafficking of cultural property, including underwater cultural heritage;
  • Training trainers on the effective use of operational tools (inventories, customs certificates, police registries, databases of stolen objects etc.) in order to protect cultural heritage.


Each participating country sent representatives from the following fields of activity:

  • Officials of Ministries of Culture and Foreign Affairs;
  • Police officers, especially those working close to archaeological areas;
  • Customs officers ;
  • Legal experts, magistrates, lawyers;
  • Museum staff.

© UNESCO Rabat

II – Awareness-raising programme

Parallel to this training, a regional awareness raising campaign is being developed in partnership with local authorities. In addition to the wide dissemination of promotional material (such as posters), a series of video clips is being developed on the fight against illicit trafficking in the Maghreb region, designed specifically for young people, local communities and tourists. A comic book aimed at young children will also be published on the importance of protecting cultural heritage.


This event was financially supported by the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AECID) in the framework of its cooperation with UNESCO's strategy for capacity building to combat illicit trafficking in cultural property. It was organized jointly by the UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage Protection Treaties Section and the UNESCO Office in Rabat.

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