Historical Background

In 1976, under the auspices of UNESCO, a committee of experts met in Venice and studied the question of the restitution or return of lost cultural property, either due to foreign or colonial occupation, or following illicit traffic before the entry into force, for States concerned, of the 1970 Convention.

Underlining the lack of international mechanisms, the experts invited the Director-General of UNESCO to envisage the creation of an international body with the task to find ways that could facilitate bilateral negotiations between the concerned countries for the restitution or the return of cultural property and to encourage them to reach agreements to this effect.

Thus, the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation was created in 1978 by the resolution 20 C4/7.6/5 at the 20th Session of the UNESCO General Conference.

The Committee is a permanent intergovernmental body, independent from the 1970 Convention.

In 1978, the Fund of the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation was also established.

See also: Illicit trafficking and restitution of cultural property

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