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3rd session of the Subsidiary Committee of the Meeting of States Parties

In a moment when the risk of illicit trafficking of cultural property is dramatically increasing as a result of conflicts, the Subsidiary Committee of the Meeting of States Parties to the 1970 Convention met for its third session at UNESCO HQ from 28 to 30 September 2015. The 18  States, member of the Committee, were in attendance, as well as number of Observer States and key partners of UNESCO including UNIDROIT, UNODC, INTERPOL, ICOM and specialized police forces such as the Carabinieri and the Guardia Civil

Third session of the Subsidiary Committee, UNESCO HQ © UNESCO/Boz

It was an ideal opportunity to inform States on the follow-up to the national and international implementation of the United National Security Council Resolution 2199 on the import and export ban of antiquities originating from Syria and Iraq. Member States expressed strong interest in the development of a standard action procedure to assist them in the return or restitution of cultural property, as well as strengthening synergies between UNESCO Culture Conventions (especially between the 1954 Hague Convention and its two protocols and the 1970 Convention). It was also highlighted that cooperation with the art market needs to be reinforced, as well as the importance of awareness-raising and capacity-building strategies. A more efficient periodic reporting system on the implementation of the Convention by Member States was also discussed; a new format will be presented at the next session in 2016.

The Committee also established priority topics which will also be examined at its next session: the online sales of illicitly trafficked cultural property and the trafficking in documentary heritage. An informal reflection group –composed of the 18 members of the Committee and open to Observer States – will examine these issues and present their findings at the next session of the Committee in 2016. A round-table followed the closure of the session, celebrating the tenth anniversary of the UNESCO Database on National Cultural Heritage Laws. The UNESCO database has played a fundamental role in the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property worldwide.

Side Event

One of the highlights of the meeting was the side-event organized by the Carabinieri Department for the Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage-TPC for the launch of the application “iTPC” for smartphone and tablets. This application, devised for a wide audience, allows smartphone owners to become actors in the safeguarding of cultural heritage by enabling access to the Data Base of Stolen Works of Art,  developed by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism. The application will also allow users to access a wide range of data sheets about stolen works of art that were recorded by the Carabinieri TPC ever since the 70s. The application will soon be available in multiple languages and can be found very easily. It is an innovative measure to fight against illicit trafficking.

  • Download the application on the following links: 1 | 2
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