International cooperation in the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property continues to be strengthened between UNESCO and its partners. All have a crucial role in providing information, education, training, but also in the development and implementation of tools to facilitate the return and restitution of cultural property.

UNESCO communicates regularly with its partners, in particular when dealing with matters of theft and illicit export of cultural property across the world, as well as the modalities for such property’s return. This cooperation is also reflected by regular meetings and has produced tangible results, such as the restitution of cultural property and improvements to the legal and operational framework in the fight against looting and the illicit transfer of cultural property.

European Union
The European Union actively supports the protection of cultural property and the fight against its illicit trafficking, in close collaboration with UNESCO and other international partners. It considers this domain to be one of its priority areas.

Intergovernmental Organizations
UNESCO works closely with intergovernmental organizations that are also acting in favour of the protection of cultural goods and against their trafficking at the international level.

Non-Governmental Organizations
UNESCO works in partnership with non-governmental organizations specialized in the protection of the cultural heritage.

Specialized Police Units
UNESCO regularly collaborates with specialized police units in the fight against illicit trafficking, theft and looting of cultural property. Increasingly aware of the need to protect their national cultural heritage, states are therefore carrying out investigative and preventive actions.

Research Institutes
Throughout the world, several research centres and scientific entities share UNESCO’s involvement in protecting cultural heritage, which faces many threats, notably the increasing illicit trafficking of cultural property.

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