Introductory UNESCO workshop on the prevention and the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property in Egypt
The workshop was held from 31 March to 2 April 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. It was organized by the UNESCO Office in Cairo and UNESCO Headquarters.
The first two days of the workshop largely focused on the national context regarding the protection of the national cultural heritage (for example, information was shared on the Egyptian specialized police unit against illicit trafficking of cultural property), as well as highlighting the problem of illicit excavations of archaeological sites, reviewing existing laws for the protection of cultural heritage, including the implementation of the UNESCO 1970 Convention, and a general overview of the cooperation between the national entities responsible for the protection of museums and archaeological sites.
The third day was devoted to the presentation of existing legal and operational tools at the international level, and the cooperation network which is offered through them: the UNESCO 1970 Convention, the UNIDROIT 1995 Convention, the role of INTERPOL (Headquarters and the National Country Bureau) as well as the experiences of WCO-RILO/WE ((World Customs Organization / Regional Intelligence Liaison Office for Western Europe) on the role of the customs in the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property.
This workshop in particular emphasized the need for the following:
- further training of national professionals involved in the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property;
- improving cooperation with intergovernmental organizations;
- maintaining and strengthening contact and cooperation between different stakeholders at national and international level.
Following this analysis of the needs at country level concerning the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property, the participants agreed to a set of recommendations which will serve as a roadmap for future cooperation between Egypt and UNESCO in this field.
This workshop is part of a wider series of comprehensive projects that UNESCO is implementing, within the framework of global efforts to protect Egypt’s unique cultural heritage, aimed at building the capacities of Egyptian heritage professionals through a range of targeted legal and operational training workshops, and awareness raising activities.