13.12.2013 - UNESCO Office in Kathmandu

“Protecting Asia’s heritage. Strategies for fighting Illicit traffic of cultural property and fostering restitutions”

The loss, damage and theft of cultural property are attracting significant political, media, diplomatic, and legal attention globally. Nevertheless, illicit traffic of statues, manuscripts and other items that are essential elements of a country’s cultural property in South Asia continues as the region lacks effective policy and capacity to curtail illicit trade.

In this context, the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu organizes an international symposium "Protecting Asia’s heritage. Strategies for fighting illicit traffic of cultural property and fostering restitutions," on 16 and 17 December 2013 in Hotel Annapurna in Kathmandu, under the patronage of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Nepal. 

“The symposium will address a great variety of issues, for example the challenges to establish a tracking system to identify and locate cultural property in a systematic way or the limited technical capacity to keep and safeguard the restituted objects and the lack of public awareness on the dispersal of cultural objects by illicit traffic”, says Axel Plathe, Head of the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu. 

Specifically, the symposium aims at exchanging knowledge on the state of illicit trafficking of cultural property in South Asia; on the status of the implementation of international legal frameworks and on best practices covering both preventive measures and restitution process. Further, it intends to make recommendations on the best use of international legal tools and frameworks and customary laws and provisions; on strategies for the return of cultural property, and on the long-term planning for the restituted objects. 

The symposium is expected to bring together about one hundred experts working in the culture sector, museums, libraries, archives, and the art market including twenty international speakers from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. They also include experts from UNESCO headquarters in Paris, INTERPOL, the World Customs Organization, International Institute for the Unification of Private Law, International Council of Museums, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and other regional organizations. 

The event builds on the Kathmandu Declaration adopted by the 2001 UNESCO symposium “Illicit traffic in cultural property: A threat to the cultural heritage and tourism of Nepal” held in Kathmandu and was subsequently endorsed by the then Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation of Nepal. 

More information on the symposium is available at  http://www.unesco.org/new/en/kathmandu/culture/symposium-on-protecting-asias-heritage/

For media inquiries, please contact:

Nipuna Shrestha

Culture Unit

UNESCO Office in Kathmandu

Tel: +977 1 555 4396, Ext: 26

Fax: +977 1 555 4450

Email: s.nipuna(at)unesco.org



Kathmandu, 13 December 2013

Press Release UNESCO/KAT 20/2013

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