UNESCO Round Table Discussion, Paris March 30, 2016

On March 30, 2016 Ms. Hoffman attended a UNESCO Round Table discussion at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris focused on the movement of cultural property in 2016: regulation, international cooperation and professional diligence for the protection of cultural heritage. The conflicts currently ravaging the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and in the Syrian Arab Republic, namely Libya and Yemen, have led to a surge in the trafficking of cultural property and archaeological objects. These objects are subject to large-scale looting and the sale of these objects are used to finance terrorism, as is stated in Resolution 2199 unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council on February 12, 2015.

The operational objectives of this round table was to assess the traffic flow and analyze the characteristic of international illicit trafficking; address the current challenges and assess risks; disclose the legal and professional obligations of stakeholders in the various States so as to encourage harmonization of regulations and facilitate the implementation of best practices by professionals; strengthen monitoring and sanction mechanisms; and identify mechanisms to promote dialogue between all stakeholders and optimize international cooperation. The one-day round table consisted of four thematic panels involving different public and private stakeholders. Their aim was to assess the current situation of the issue and identify new challenges arising from the illicit trafficking in cultural property, examine prevention and repression mechanisms and tools, and highlight synergies to strengthen international cooperation.