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U.S. Contributions to UNESCO

Development of UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage Laws Database

Temple Banteay Chmar (Cambodia) after looting (UNESCO/C. Jacques)

Temple Banteay Chmar (Cambodia) after looting (UNESCO/C. Jacques)

The U.S. has contributed $557,695 for the development of UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage Laws Database. Launched in 2005, this online database offers free access to national cultural heritage legislation from UNESCO Member States, through an easy-to-use Website.

The database was created to combat illicit trafficking in cultural property and reinforce cultural property protection by allowing quick international access to States’ national cultural heritage legislation and contact information. Users ranging from lawmakers and lawyers, to police and customs officials, to art and antiquities dealers and private individuals, can consult laws and regulations related to the importation, exportation and ownership of cultural property in any given State. 

As of February 2013, approximately 2454 pieces of legislation from 180 Member States had been published on the UNESCO Cultural Heritage Laws Database Website.

The most recent work of the two-phase project is funded by a U.S. contribution of $354,295, and is aimed at increasing effectiveness of the database by improving its user-friendliness, linguistic diversity, and promotional strategy.