Preventing the Illicit Traffic in Cultural Property: A Resource Handbook for the Implementation of the 1970 UNESCO Convention




United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)


United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Digital Library



Available in

English, French, Spanish


This manual aims to impart to a broader audience a deeper understanding of the various ways to curb and control illicit traffic in cultural property. It can be accessed through the website of the UNESDOC Digital Library.

The handbook primarily addresses national authorities that while they are facing a problem of illicit trafficking have also ratified the I970 UNESCO Convention on The Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. It provides text and training materials that are based on the notes and materials from regional and national training seminars, as well as on UNESCO documents and publications and documents from other sources. The text details the steps that must be taken at national level to implement the convention and to enable the provisions of the convention to come into force.

Some of the contents of the manual are:

  • The use and functions of international conventions
  • Steps to implement the 1970 UNESCO Convention
  • Return or restitution of cultural property