UNESCO to develop Model Provisions to fight illicit trafficking of cultural property

On 16 December 2021, UNESCO organised the first meeting of the Drafting Committee for the Model Provisions on the Prevention and Fight against the Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property.

UNESCO is developing the Model Provisions as a tool for Member States to enhance the application of the 1970 UNESCO Convention. The Organization encourages all States to implement the Model Provisions in national law, for a standardized understanding and focused effort to protect cultural property.

Mr Lazare Eloundou, Director a.i., Culture and Emergencies at UNESCO, and Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, opened the online meeting. The Chairman of the Drafting Committee, Professor Vincent Négri, Doctor of Public Law and Researcher at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), presented the roadmap and the method to be adopted. (Resolution 5.MSP 10)

The Drafting Committee reviewed the six chapters proposed for the draft Model Provisions (1. Definitions, 2. National agencies, 3. Movement of cultural property, 4. Return and restitution of illegally imported/exported cultural property, 5. Regulation of the art market, 6. Civil, criminal and administrative sanctions). The general content of the Model Provisions will be developed in conformity with the key pillars of the 1970 Convention: prevention, return and restitution and international cooperation. They should also fill the gaps in the 1970 UNESCO Convention and the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention.

On 25 and 26 May this year, the Sixth Meeting of States Parties to the 1970 Convention recommended the establishment by UNESCO of a Committee of Experts in the field of cultural property law to undertake this work. The Drafting Committee’s first draft of the Model Provisions will undergo a review in May 2022.

Between June and November 2022, UNESCO will consult with stakeholders concerned by the Model Provisions (including civil society, the art market and UNESCO’s international partner organizations) and in January 2023 there will be a third meeting.

At the end of February 2023, taking into account the comments and recommendations of the Consultative Body and the stakeholders concerned with the Model Provisions, the Drafting Committee will provide a revised and finalised draft to UNESCO.


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