Over the course of five days the workshop aims to raise awareness regarding the illicit trafficking of cultural property and its impact on security and stability in the Mediterranean region; and to discuss methods and best practices for the OSCE, as a regional security organization, how best to respond to this serious transnational threat in a systematic manner, and in co-ordination with relevant national agencies, International Organizations, private sector and educational institutions.
Background and Summary
The OSCE participating States (pSs), along with the OSCE Partners for Co-operation (PfCs), are experiencing a dramatic upsurge in the unlawful looting of archaeological sites and illicit cross border smuggling of priceless stolen artwork, archaeological materials and antiquities. Trafficking in cultural property that in most cases is cross-border in its nature, has close linkages to transnational organized crime groups, international money laundering and corruption networks and terrorist organizations.
Following the recommendations arising from the 2014 Annual Meeting of the OSCE Border Security and Management National Focal Points (NFP) Network, and of the OSCE Workshop on Illicit Cultural Property Trade and Smuggling of Historical Artifacts introduced for the first time in OSCE in July 2016 by the OSCE Border Security and Management Unit (BSMU) in co-operation with the OSCE Office in Tajikistan (OiT), the BSMU in 2017 developed the project titled “Combating illicit cross-border trafficking in cultural property in the OSCE area”.
The project will be launched with a Workshop focused on the Mediterranean Region and then continue with a series of three additional regionally tailored workshops (targeting Central Asia, South-Eastern Europe and Caucasus, and Asian Partners for Co-operation). The Project aims at both the introduction of practical measures against this emerging transnational threat, while providing a platform for discussion, exchange of views, and identification of best practices and tools to counter this complex and multi-faceted phenomenon.
Italy, as the 2017 Chair of the OSCE Contact Group with the Mediterranean Partners for Cooperation, in co-operation with the Border Security and Management Unit of the OSCE Secretariat’s Transnational Threats Department is financing the project and is hosting the first expert workshop for the group of policy and decision making officials and operational experts from Mediterranean Partners for Cooperation and participating States’ border security and management agencies at the Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units (CoESPU), in Vicenza.