Prof. Ignacio Tirado, Secretary General, participated in the online regional dialogue on the fight against illicit trafficking on cultural property and the return and restitution of cultural property in the Africa region, organised within the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the 1970 UNESCO Convention.
He gave a presentation on 25 years of protection of cultural property through the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects.
This online meeting provided an opportunity to address the current context and challenges in the fight against illicit trafficking and the return and restitution of cultural property in the Africa region. The conference offered the opportunity for UNESCO Member States, community members and a wide range of professionals to identify regional needs and priorities. It was also an important contribution to the African Union 2021 Year of ”Culture, Arts and Heritage, Levers for building the Africa we want”.
Prof. Tirado recalled that 11 African countries were Parties to the 1995 Convention (Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Tunisia), and 3 countries had signed but not yet ratified (Senegal, Guinea, and Zambia). He reiterated UNIDROIT’s engagement together with its partners, in particular UNESCO, ECOWAS and the African Union with which UNIDROIT shares specific activities in Africa, in the fight against illicit trafficking.
Strengthening the legal framework and assistance in ratifying and implementing the international conventions being one of the main priorities which emerged from the conference, UNIDROIT will continue, together with UNESCO and its other partners, to support States by providing technical expertise, helping improve national legislation in view of ratifying the 1995 Convention and other relevant instruments, promoting cooperation between parties to the Convention and beyond, as well as training cultural professionals and lawyers.
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