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A Final Report of the Melanesian Workshop on the Fight against the Illicit Trafficking in Cultural Property held at the Vanuatu Culture Centre (VCC) in Port Vila from 5 to 7 August 2015 has just been published

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The Workshop held in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Vanuatu brought together five Melanesian countries and territory (Fiji, New Caledonia/France, PNG, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu) as well as participants from Australia and New Zealand, representatives of UNESCO, International Police Organization (INTERPOL), Pacific Islands Museums Association (PIMA), Oceania Customs Organization Secretariat (OCOS), Pacific Heritage Hub (PHH) at the University of the South Pacific (USP), and Melanesia Spearhead Group (MSG) Secretariat. The objective of the Workshop was to address issues surrounding the fight against the illicit trafficking in cultural property in the Melanesian region and to increase countries’ ratification of the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970). The Workshop provided the participants from museum, cultural institutions and customs and police services with opportunities to learn the legal and administrative measures to fight against the illicit trafficking in cultural property through multi-stakeholder discussions.   Ocean border control, communal ownership of cultural heritage, cultural infrastructure development, awareness of visitors and expatriate community, and resource constraints were some of the challenges highlighted at the Workshop. The Workshop emphasized the importance of developing a national system for the documentation and inventorying of cultural heritage with community participation.

The Final Report of the Workshop compiles a narrative report, the keynote presentation, the text of the 1970 Convention and tthe Port Vila Declaration outlining priority actions to counter the illicit trafficking in cultural property in the Melanesian region.  The Report is expected to serve as a useful reference document for international and regional cooperation in the coming years.
 
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Workshop on the Fight against the Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property in Melanesia (Port Vila from 5 to 7 August 2015)
Apia: UNESCO Apia Office, 2015, 69p.
TH/DOC/APIA/15/044



15.12.2015