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February 15, 2024

NetworkThe ALIPH-ICOM emergency grant project for combatting illicit trafficking of cultural goods in Côte d’Ivoire has been successfully completed!

The project “Implementation of security measures and training in the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural goods for museums in Côte d’Ivoire“, which ended in December 2023, was an emergency grant for the implementation of security measures for Ivorian museums and the strengthening of the capacity of the country’s professionals to effectively combat illicit trafficking of cultural goods at national level.

This is a continuation of an initial project set up between ICOM and the ALIPH Foundation in 2020 to support 14 museums in West and Central Africa, including Côte d’Ivoire. Building on this experience, the Heritage Protection Department of the ICOM Secretariat, in close collaboration with the ICOM Côte d’Ivoire National Committee, and financial support of ALIPH, was able to develop, implement and successfully complete this new operational project, which will undoubtedly remain a model project for the region.

Securing the buildings and collections of two museums in eastern Côte d’Ivoire

Renovation works were completed in the two selected museums in the Indénié-Djiuablin region of eastern Côte d’Ivoire:

  • The Jean-Marie Adiaffi Museum (MJMA) in Bettié, a community, ethnographic and archaeological museum.
  • The Louis-Gustave Binger Museum in Zaranou, custodian of tangible and intangible, movable and immovable heritage, located near the border with Ghana.

The completion of these security measures has enabled both museums to achieve their objective of providing their collections with the basic means of protection against existing risks (in particular theft and other forms of ambient damage).

These works were closely monitored by both ICOM Côte d’Ivoire and the team from the Heritage Protection Department, who carried out follow-up missions to liaise with local stakeholders during the process.

The rapid completion of these works has exemplified the impact of the simple rehabilitation measures aimed at preserving the buildings and their collections, making the museums safer, more attractive, and more welcoming to visitors.

Results of renovation and security work at the Jean-Marie Adiaffi Museum in Bettié

During the needs assessment carried out by ICOM Côte d’Ivoire in the preparatory phase of the project, serious waterproofing problems were identified in the Bettié museum. There was a high risk of the museum roof collapsing. In addition, the exhibition rooms and storerooms were often flooded during the rainy season, which affected the objects in the collection. In response, waterproofing works were carried out on the building’s structure and the cracks in the walls caused by damp were repaired. The electrical system was also modernised. The doors were also  secured to prevent vandalism and theft. Further, the layout of the museum space was improved and the provision of new exhibition equipment, allowing the objects in the collections to be better preserved, documented and displayed.

During the course of the project, and in agreement with ALIPH, further work was carried out in the museum to address other needs identified by the National Committee over the duration of the project. The façade and the permanent exhibition rooms were completely repainted in order to render the space more adept to the display of the collection and create an environment that encourages visitation. 

Results of renovation and security works at the Louis-Gustave Binger Museum in Zaranou 

Due to its geographical location, the museum is exposed to dust, which accumulates over time and poses a risk to the conservation of the objects. This was exacerbated by the deteriorated condition of the museum’s structure. The project thus helped with the repair of the structure, and the exhibition rooms were cleaned. In addition, the doors and windows were secured to prevent illicit entry and theft. 

Construction of a reserve at the Louis-Gustave Binger Museum in Zaranou 

Another major challenge identified by this museum was the absence of a storeroom. To ensure better conservation of the objects not on display, a reserve was built on the museum site. 

Reserve construction area and start of works © ICOM Côte d’Ivoire

During the project and in agreement with ALIPH, additional funds were also granted to equip the museum with sanitary facilities that now meet hygiene and public inclusion standards. 


« It is a great honour for me, as President of ICOM Côte d’Ivoire, and for our National Committee, to receive a grant from the International Alliance for Heritage Protection in Conflict Zones (ALIPH) to help upgrade our country’s museums. 

The challenge of implementing this project, which focuses on protection, security measures and training to combat the illicit trafficking of cultural property in Côte d’Ivoire, was considerable. In the end, the three components of the project were carried out in Abidjan, Bettié and Zaranou. It was a great experience.

I would like to express my gratitude to ALIPH and ICOM, who, in addition to providing financial and technical support, are tirelessly committed to protecting our heritage and upholding the cardinal values of peace, social cohesion and well-being».

Dr Ernest Kpan

Chair of ICOM Côte d’Ivoire

Seminar on the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural goods, Museum of Civilisations of Côte d’Ivoire in Abidjan (7 and 8 March 2023) 

The seminar was attended by a wide range of heritage protection professionals: around 35 attendees (museum professionals, national security and customs representatives, academics, public administration professionals, including from UNESCO). This variety of backgrounds facilitated fruitful exchanges on existing good practice and the need to create synergies between the various players in order to meet the challenges facing the cultural heritage in the region. The seminar and meetings organised around the event, also helped to consolidate the ICOM Côte d’Ivoire network, thus ensuring that the enduring and wide-reaching results of this project. 

The seminar was conducted in a spirit of cooperation, with presentations by the ICOM Heritage Protection Department team – focusing on ICOM resources and tools such as the Red Lists, the Code of Ethics and Object ID – and a presentation by Franck Pacere, member of the National Committee of ICOM Burkina Faso, regarding risk management in museums.. In fact, the seminar provided a perfect opportunity to bring together international expertise and to strengthen cooperation between the various Committees active in West Africa and the Secretariat in Paris, thereby providing a forum for the cross-pollination of experiences in another project that ICOM is carrying out with the ALIPH Foundation in Burkina Faso and Mali. 

It should also be noted that the closing day of the seminar coincided with International Women’s Rights Day on 8 March, and the opportunity was taken to highlight the important role of women in the effective protection of cultural heritage. 


‘’ On 7 and 8 March, ICOM-CI organised, with the financial and technical support of ALIPH and ICOM, a training session on the fight against illicit trafficking in cultural property at the Musée des Civilisations de Côte d’Ivoire. The training, given by experts from ICOM International, was attended by officials from the country’s public museums and representatives of bodies involved in the protection of cultural property, as well as a number of educational establishments. The training was highly beneficial in that it provided participants with the tools they need to set up cultural heritage protection programmes with a view to effectively combating the illicit trafficking of cultural property throughout the country.

We would like to thank ICOM and ALIPH for all these actions in favour of cultural heritage throughout the world’’

AKOHI Amon Eugénie – ICOM-Côte d’Ivoire

Impact of the project on local communities and sustainability of results 

The collaboration between the ICOM Secretariat, ICOM Côte d’Ivoire and the ALIPH Foundation – in close partnership with the two local museums – has once again demonstrated the value of inter-institutional cooperation involving local, national, and international actors, each with a role to play in the protection of cultural heritage. 

The project has built bridges between professionals in line with ICOM’s mission and objectives as the international organisation of museums and museum professionals, promoting professional development and advancing knowledge in the field. 


« Under the auspices of ICOM Côte d’Ivoire, we have dreamed, thought, prepared, announced and implemented concrete and lasting solutions for the benefit of the museums of Zaranou and Bettié (Abengourou, Côte d’Ivoire), thanks to the invaluable support of technical and financial partners, To whom we would like to express, in our mother tongue “Nancy, Ayoka, Anitché, Mo MO”, our infinite gratitude to ALIPH and ICOM for this important cultural cooperation project, which we hope will bear fruit and be extended and perpetuated to all the community museums in Eburnia.».  


Project coordinator for protection and security measures for museums in the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural goods, with funding from ALIPH and technical support from ICOM

For more information :  

ALIPH website : Assisting museums in Cote d’Ivoire to increase security in the fight against the illicit traffic of cultural goods | Aliph Foundation – Protecting heritage to build peace (