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Website of ICOM’s International Observatory on Illicit Traffic in Cultural Goods officially launched

Website of ICOM’s International Observatory on Illicit Traffic in Cultural Goods officially launched

ICOM’s International Observatory on Illicit Traffic in Cultural Goods launches its website, as an important stage in this three-year project on the initiative of ICOM with the financial support of the European Commission.

The website of ICOM’s International Observatory on Illicit Traffic in Cultural Goods was launched officially during ICOM’s 128th Executive Council meetings held in Paris, France, on 4 and 5 April, 2014. Now available to the public at http://obs-traffic.museum, the website marks an important stage in the initial triennial phase of the project.

The website, core of the Observatory, will act as a hub for all information related to illicit traffic in cultural goods, aimed at centralising and disseminating all kinds of resources and instruments relating to illicit traffic in cultural goods and the means to fight it.

A large number of external resources are compiled on the Observatory’s website:

  •     2,171 reading materials and 396 videos and audio recordings
  •     831 practical tools collected from institutions and organisations
  •     137 normative ethical instruments
  •     89 international legal instruments
  •     links to 114 information websites
  •     549 stakeholders concerned by the issue


In addition, it offers an extensive glossary, technical sheets on good practices, a news section, and links to websites offering legal and criminal case studies, identified and produced by the team and groups of experts working in this field.

Started in January 2013, the Observatory was initially conceived as a three-year project at the initiative of ICOM and with the financial support of the Prevention of and Fight against Crime Programme of the European Commission’s Directorate-General Home Affairs.

The Observatory is the fruit of ICOM’s long-term involvement in the fight against illicit traffic in cultural goods, and is created to serve as a permanent international cooperative network between international organisations, law enforcement agencies, research institutions and other external expert stakeholders. In accordance with article 17 of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, and in the context of ICOM’s international commitment to fighting illicit traffic in cultural goods, the main objective of this platform is to build a major information databank for the network and the public through the newly launched website . It will also publish in 2015 a triennial Global Report, the first of its kind, presenting a range of case studies, statistics, analyses and reference articles. After the first triennial phase, ICOM intends to turn the Observatory into a sustainable project.

With the financial support of the Prevention of and Fight against Crime Programme, European Commission, Directorate-General Home Affairs