Conference to strengthen European cooperation against the trafficking of cultural property [fr]

This conference, which brings together sector professionals and the competent national and European administrations concerning the fight against trafficking of cultural property, should provide opportunities to discuss innovative initiatives and propose a dialogue with the art market. Its conclusions will provide material for reflection which will continue at the informal meeting of Culture Ministers in Angers on 7 and 8 March, and will be used to develop courses of action to improve working as a network at the European level.

The trafficking of cultural property, a global organized crime phenomenon, provides resources to criminal networks and in some cases helps finance terrorist activities. Ultimately, this trafficking dispossesses a people of its history and culture. Countries of the European Union are victims of plundering of their sites and collections, but they are also home to popular markets and it is their duty to fight this scourge. The fight against this type of trafficking has seen innovative initiatives emerge in several European Union Member States, and these could provide opportunities for synergies. Furthermore, art market professionals also have a role to play in this fight and the actions conducted to stem the flow should receive greater visibility. The upcoming publication by the European Commission on an action plan against the trafficking of cultural property is a timely opportunity to organize a conference to strengthen European cooperation.

Co-organized by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture, and opened by the Minister of Culture, Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, and the Vice-President of the European Commission and UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Culture, and following on from the second ALIPH (International alliance for the protection of heritage in conflict areas) donor conference, the conference on 1 February aims to organize networking of European stakeholders in this area and the exchange of best practices, to fight against the trafficking of cultural property. Participants will speak remotely to an audience of around 300 people from the Musée du Louvre. The discussions should identify synergies between existing initiatives in Europe, for example for sharing data on trafficked goods or mobilizing all stakeholders, and define tangible ways of improving European cooperation. This discussion will continue at the informal meeting of European ministers and will contribute to the future plan of the European Commission.

The conference will be comprised of three panel discussions :

  • The first is dedicated to new technologies and innovative systems that are used in the fight against trafficking.
  • The second focuses on the role of the art market and its regulation in the European Union.
  • The third panel discussion will address the ways and means to promote the actions undertaken to fight trafficking among all stakeholders (the general public, professionals, students, researchers, etc.).

Mr Jean-Luc Martinez, Ambassador for International Heritage Cooperation, will present the panels’ conclusions at the end of the meeting.

These three sessions aim to present existing systems, actions carried out and technological innovations to fight trafficking, especially new digital tools and information-sharing systems, to produce working solutions.

Ahead of the informal meeting of Culture Ministers in Angers on 7 and 8 March, and with an eye on the upcoming publication by the European Commission of an action plan to fight trafficking of cultural property, this conference should foster the possible creation of a European network of experts. Its aim is to put project leaders in contact with national, European and international administrations and widen and strengthen the action of the European Union to protect its heritage, regulate the internal market and continue to mobilize stakeholders at the international level.

Last modified on 31/01/2022

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