Statement of the Non-Aligned Movement was delivered at the Sixth Meeting of the States Parties to the 1970 Convention

The Non-Aligned Movement underlines the importance of national, regional and international initiatives for the protection of cultural property, in particular the work of UNESCO and 1970 Convention, and stresses the importance of fostering international law enforcement cooperation to combat trafficking in cultural property and in particular the need to exchange information and experiences in order to operate in a more effective way.

Azerbaijan's Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Ambassador Elman Abdullayev, expressed these views at the Sixth Meeting of the States Parties to the 1970 Convention in its capacity as the Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement/UNESCO Chapter.

Abdullayev said that the members of NAM express their concern over the problem of illicit trafficking of cultural property, which not only affects countries of origin but also disrupts the safeguarding of heritage everywhere. In this regard, NAM wishes to stress the importance of the effective implementation of relevant international treaties, in particular the 1970 Convention and the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects.

The Permanent Delegate emphasized the role of UNESCO in sensitizing public about the seriousness of the problem, bringing together all stakeholders in combatting the illicit trafficking of cultural property and assisting its Member States in putting in place sustainable measures to tackle this global problem.

“Considering that the protection of cultural heritage can be effective only if organized both nationally and internationally among States working in close co-operation”, as indicated under the preamble of the 1970 Convention, the Movement invites all Members of UNESCO to engage into dialogue, in good faith, on all matters related to return and restitution cultural property. On this subject, NAM stresses the potential role that the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation (ICPRCP) can play.

 “Taking the above-mentioned into account, the Non-Aligned Movement urges UNESCO to increase its efforts in ensuring the application of respective standard-setting instruments and mechanisms, as well as in creating platforms for global dialogue,” said Ambassador Abdullayev.

The Chair of the 6th meeting of the States Parties to the 1970 Convention stressed that the message of the Permanent Delegate of Azerbaijan is clear and this Statement will be included in the final report of the meeting.

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