Open-ended intergovernmental expert group on protection against trafficking in cultural property

The Economic and Social Council, in its resolution 2008/23, entitled "Protection against trafficking in cultural property", reiterated its request made in its resolution 2004/34 that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, in close cooperation with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, convene an open-ended intergovernmental expert group meeting to submit relevant recommendations on protection against trafficking in cultural property to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. Those recommendations were to include ways of making more effective the model treaty for the prevention of crimes that infringe on the cultural heritage of peoples in the form of movable property.

The open-ended intergovernmental expert group on protection against trafficking in cultural property held its first meeting in Vienna from 24 to 26 November 2009 and its recommendations were submitted to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice at its 19th session in 2010 ( E/CN.15/2010/5).

Further, in its resolutions 2010/19, entitled "Crime Prevention and criminal justice responses to protect cultural property, especially with regard to its trafficking", the Economic and Social Council requested UNODC to convene at least one additional meeting of the open-ended intergovernmental expert group on protection against trafficking in cultural property to consider and submit to the Commission at its 22 nd session practical proposals for implementing, where appropriate, the recommendations made by the first meeting of the expert group, with due attention to aspects of criminalization and international cooperation, including mutual legal assistance.

In its resolution 66/180, entitled "Strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice responses to protect cultural property, especially with regard to its trafficking", the General Assembly further welcomed this decision by the Economic and Social Council.

The Council also adopted in resolution 2010/19, the recommendations made by the expert group on trafficking in cultural property at its first meeting calling upon UNODC, as a complement to existing work and in close cooperation with UNESCO, Unidroit and other competent organizations, and within its mandate, to further explore the development of specific guidelines for crime prevention with respect to trafficking in cultural property.,

The second meeting of the intergovernmental expert group was held in Vienna from 27 to 29 June 2012. During the second meeting, the expert group continued the discussions on the model treaty and on the draft specific guidelines. Participants also shared views on the practical proposals for implementing the recommendations made during the first meeting.

In its resolution 68/186, entitled "Strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice responses to protect cultural property, especially with regard to its trafficking", the General Assembly requested UNODC to reconvene the intergovernmental expert group on protection against trafficking in cultural property, for Member States to review and revise the draft guidelines, taking into account an updated compendium from the Secretariat of comments made by Member States, with a view to finalizing the guidelines. In line with this resolution, the third meeting  of the expert group was held from 15 to 17 January 2014. Pursuant to resolution 68/186, the guidelines will be submitted to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice at its twenty-third session and will be brought, after their adoption, to the attention of the Conference of the Parties to the Organized Crime Convention.

  • First meeting of the open-ended intergovernmental expert group  on protection against trafficking in cultural property, Vienna, Austria, 24 to 26 November 2009
  • Second meeting of the open-ended intergovernmental expert group  on protection against trafficking in cultural property, Vienna, Austria, 27 to 29 June 2012
  • Third meeting of the open-ended intergovernmental expert group on protection against trafficking in cultural property, Vienna, Austria, 15 to 17 January 2014.