BSI attended the first national capacity-building training on the effective implementation of the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, and the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two Protocols (1954 and 1999). The international Conventions were ratified by Palestine in 2012. The training linked to the Palestinian Decree Law concerning Tangible Cultural Heritage (which entered into force in 2018). Workshop attendees included more than 30 representatives from different directorates at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (MoTA), the Ministry of Culture, Law Enforcement Agencies in the Ministry of interior (security forces) as well as other national stakeholders in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Facilitated by the Italian Comando Carabenieri per la Tutela del Patrimonio Culturale, INTERPOL and the UNESCO experts of the 1970 and 1954 Conventions, attendees learned about the contents of the Conventions, and discussed ways to implement them in practice. Key recommendations included developing detailed inventories (of movable and immovable cultural property), registering sites on the UNESCO Lists of Special and Enhanced Protection under the 1954 Hague Convention, and enhancing and strengthening national capacities of the relevant institutions in fighting against illicit trafficking of cultural property in times of emergencies, including armed conflicts.
During the 4-day training, the participants deepened their knowledge on the tools provided by the Conventions and the linkages with the Palestinian laws in effect. It was an opportunity to share experiences and to gain an overview on international efforts to fight protect heritage and conflict and fight illicit trafficking.