Building capacities and raising awareness on the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural objects



Lima, Peru, 23-25 October 2012

The seminar, with a particular focus on the Central America and Andean region, is part of UNESCO’s global efforts to fight illicit trafficking of cultural property worldwide.


In order to reduce the endemic problem of illegal excavations, the black market in archaeological artifacts and the illegal export of religious, pre-Columbian and baroque cultural property in this region, reflections on effective implementation of the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property and of the 1995 convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects have taken on a particular importance. Improving security conditions at archaeological sites, inventory problems, trained heritage police and border controls are at the heart of the current debate.

The project aims to create and develop national legal, ethical and operational capacities to fight against the illicit traffic in cultural property and facilitate its restitution through targeted trainings with the support of institutions such as INTERPOL, WCO (World Customs Organization) and UNIDROIT (International Institute for the Unification of Private Law). The seminar will address government officials, police force, customs officials and cultural managers.

The workshop has the following objectives:

  • Promote the effective ratification and implementation of the UNESCO Convention (1970) and of the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects (1995);  
  • Provide training and build capacities on the effective use of legal, ethical and operational tools to safeguard and preserve cultural heritage;
  • Propose joint actions among legal actors, police and customs services involved in protecting heritage at the regional level,  with an emphasis on archaeological, religious and baroque artifacts;
  • Discuss strategies to raise awareness among the general public on the need to fight illicit trafficking of cultural objects.

This workshop is financed by the UNESCO Director-General Emergency Fund and the Cultural Heritage Protection Treaties Section of UNESCO. This initiative has been possible thanks to the close cooperation between the UNESCO Lima Office, UNESCO Headquarters and the Ministry of Culture of Peru.

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