Authorities at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), will on Wednesday, April 17, 2019, begin a two-day working workshop to discuss issues hindering the ratification and implementation of the 1970 United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Cultural convention on the fight against illicit trafficking in cultural property.
The workshop, according to Darius Gweh, Director of Culture at MICAT, is expected to bring together stakeholders from diverse backgrounds to include academics, politicians, and security personnel.
“The workshop,” Gweh said, “is aimed to find solutions to the problem that made it difficult for the country to ratify the convention, with the objectives to raise awareness about the ratification and implementation of the 1970 convention.”
The 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, according to UNESCO, is one of the several conventions that have a low rate of ratification in Africa.
The convention came into being to encourage states parties to recognize that the illicit import, export, and transfer of ownership of cultural property require international co-operation to protect each country’s cultural property against all the associated dangers.
Mr. Gweh said MICAT’s intent is to use the workshop to discuss ways to fight the illegal trade of cultural property, which has grown substantially to a high level over the years.
“We are also looking at developing a mechanism to enhance the inter-agency relationship to contrast the theft, looting and illicit trafficking of cultural property,” he said.
Today’s workshop is one of the several activities the Ministry is undertaking to galvanize support for the ratification of the law, and the fight against illegal trade of cultural property.
“By bringing together stakeholders to safeguard the country’s cultural heritage, to discuss ideas to fight these crimes and to galvanize support for the ratification of this document, is a clear manifestation of the government’s commitment to protect Liberia’s cultural heritage,” he said.
Although Liberia is a member of the UNESCO, the country has not ratified any of the UN agency’s cultural treaties.