February 2, 2007

UNESCO debate on challenge of cultural property

Posted at 9:18 am in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

One of the biggest challenges facing museums in the 21st Century is how they approach any claims made on cultural property in their collections.

Kuwait News Agency

UNESCO to hold debate next week on challenges facing museums
UNESCO to hold debate next week on challenges facing museums

PARIS, Feb 1 (KUNA) — A debate will be held on Monday at the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) entitled ‘Memory and Universality: New Challenges Facing Museums,’ which will discuss the historical, ethical, political and economic aspects of this issue.

A press release issued by UNESCO Thursday said that the debate will focus on the “different points of view on the universal missions of museums and the massive transfer of cultural properties over the course of history.” It indicated that “an ever-increasing number of countries are requesting the return of objects kept in foreign collections.” It added that UNESCO “believes the time has come to develop new forms of mutually beneficial collaboration between museums, governments and heritage professionals.” UNESCO set up in 1970 the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, which was implemented in 1972 and now includes 110 State Parties.

The Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation (IGC) was also established in 1978 by UNESCO in an aim to “play an intermediary role in actions of restitution, return or repatriation.” Several prominent cultural figures will be taking part in the debate, such as the directors of the Louvre Museum, British Museum, Hermitage Museum and the President of the International Council of Museums (ICOM). (end) si.bz.

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