Regional Workshop on Combating trafficking of cultural heritage and art in South-Eastern Europe

19-21 June 2023, Belgrade, Serbia: The UNODC Passenger and Cargo Border Team (PCBT) in cooperation with the French Customs Regional Attaché Office in Belgrade organized a regional workshop on combating trafficking of cultural heritage and art in South-Eastern Europe. The workshop was attended by customs and police officers from the inter-agency units at land-borders, seaports and airports in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia and aimed to strengthen the capacities of the inter-agency units and promote collaboration and dialogue among law enforcement, cultural and other institutions in the region.

In recent decades, organized groups have become increasingly involved in the illegal trading of artefacts. Cultural property is being unlawfully excavated, stolen, looted and exported or imported using sophisticated modern technologies. The workshop organized by UNODC focused on international legal frameworks, conventions, agreements and other instruments that are available to strengthen the joint response to these crimes.

The discussions and practical exercises particularly emphasized the need to strengthen cooperation among law enforcement and local cultural authorities to bring together the necessary expertise to identify, assess the value and scale of the criminal operation behind a single act of trafficking.

This workshop was delivered by the UNODC Passenger and Cargo Border Team under the framework of the joint EU-UNODC action on promoting rule of law and good governance through targeted border control measures at ports and airports conducted in cooperation with the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and funded by the European Union.