Showing posts with label cultural security. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cultural security. Show all posts

February 9, 2019

Letter from the UN Chair of the Security Council Committee concerning Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Da’esh), Al-Qaida and associated individuals and their involvement in heritage plunder

In a letter dated 15 January 2019, signed by Dian Triansyah Djani, the UN Chair of the Security Council Committee, pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999), 1989 (2011) and 2253 (2015) concerning Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Da’esh), Al-Qaida and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities and addressed to the President of the Security Council the chair writes...

Section III82. Despite systematic consultation with Member States, the Monitoring Team has been unable to establish that ISIL ever generated significant funds from human slavery or sexual violence, although it was certainly massively engaged in such crimes on a basis internal to the so-called “caliphate”. Member States also broadly share the analysis that ISIL did not systematically or fully exploit the funding potential of looting and trading in antiquities and cultural goods. Nevertheless, it will not be possible to draw firm conclusions on this until more is known about what was taken, and until enhanced detection and enforcement efforts have yielded more information.

While the 25-page report goes on in Section B. Resolution 2347 (2017) on Cultural Heritage to mention the strategic and exemplary training conducted by the World Customs Organization, who have launched a training handbook on the prevention of illicit trafficking of cultural heritage, it omits other UN trainings facilitated by UNESCO such as the Countering Antiquities Trafficking in the Mashreq: A Training Program for Specialists Working to Deter Cultural Property Theft and the Illicit Trafficking of Antiquities program.  

This 5-day training, animated by experts from UNESCO, UNIDROIT, INTERPOL, ICOM, UNODC and four trainers from ARCA (Association for Research into Crimes against Art), was structured around four modules, each designed to address issues of common concern in affected source and transit countries. The topics addressed included: Museum and Site Risk Management and Hazard Mitigation; Art Crime Policing and Law; The Conflict Antiquities Trade - Characterizing and Anticipating Trafficking of Cultural Heritage and Cultural Property Crimes in the Context of Contemporary Armed Conflicts; The International Art Market and The Trade in Unprovenanced Antiquities - The Interface Between Legal and Illegal Actors in Source and Market Countries.

Sessions for Countering Antiquities Trafficking in the Mashreq consisted of a mixture of lecture presentations involving art security awareness briefings, comprehensive discussions and practical demonstrations that all have the same primary objective – to pass on specialist knowledge while allowing a limited amount of time for practical, first-hand discourse drawing on the participants own experiences thereby allowing for contemplation and further debate.

ARCA's collaboration on this in-country UNESCO training for representatives from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey is not the only UN facilitated training omitted from this report, nor is it the only non UN training program which has been developed to assist in the battle against plunder in conflict.  

ARCA also provides intensive Minerva Scholarship training for eleven weeks in Italy for Levant heritage professionals, established in response to scholarly concerns of heritage destruction and looting throughout Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen.  Other NGO's, likewise have also supported and/or conducted training to assist in this critical area of concern.  

Underscoring for a second time, the UN Chair's statement:

"it will not be possible to draw firm conclusions on this until more is known about what was taken, and until enhanced detection and enforcement efforts have yielded more information." 

Most endeavours to establish such information have, are, and will continue to be seriously hampered by chronic underfunding.  This makes it difficult, if not impossible, for member states or UN agencies and their NGO partners and affiliate supporting organisations to respond effectively to the scale and scope of the problem. 

November 19, 2016

Conference: Iraq and Syria: Archaeological Heritage between Risks and Perspectives

CPAVO: Strategy-setting Conference of the Archaeologists of the Near East

Iraq and Syria: Archaeological Heritage between Risks and Perspectives

Location:  Palagio dei Capitani di Parte Guelfa, Florence, Italy

Dates:  16-17 December 2016

Cost:  Free, Deadline for Registration 04/12/16

Note:  The spoken language of the conference is Italian. 

The event, organized by CAMNES (Center for Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies), in collaboration with the Municipality of Florence (UNESCO Office) and the Academy of Arts and Design of Florence, on the occasion of the anniversary of the inscription of the Historic Center of Florence in the UNESCO World Heritage List, which took place on December 17, 1982, is a part of active collaboration between the city of Florence and UNESCO and follows the latest initiatives, such as the third UNESCO Forum on cultural industries in 2014 and the recent global summit of Mayors 'Unity in Diversity 2015', after which the Charter of Florence was signed.

On the basis of what is reported in the Charter of Florence to the points set forth below this event will:

• support the UNESCO campaign #United4Heritage regarding the defense of the cultural heritage; encourage the establishment of scientific committees in support of the "Blue Helmets of Culture" - promoted by the Italian government - and support programs of international cooperation for the preservation and protection of heritage;

• make available to UNESCO and its National Commissions, Governments and local administrations a network of specialists, particularly in the field of conservation and heritage management, in order to activate a protection network of cultural and natural heritage, endangered by conflicts and natural disaster events;

CAMNES and the Municipality of Florence (UNESCO Office) have constituted a Scientific and Organizing Committee, which met in Florence on June 28th with the specific purpose to define and organize this upcoming event. The project behind this conference is based on the fact that the scientific community of archaeologists of the Near East is able to make an active and important contribution in addressing not only academic and field research issues, but most importantly those related to prevention, conservation and enhancement of archaeological and cultural heritage in contexts currently affected by conflicts, more specifically Iraq and Syria.

For these reasons they felt necessary to bring together all the scholars of this discipline – currently active, involved or potentially interested in projects of excavations and research in Syria and Iraq - with the aim of producing concrete proposals and projects based on the following topics:

HERITAGE AT RISK: elements related to specific contexts and issues pertaining to the critical assessment of specialists. Analysis of specific issues regarding archaeological sites, architectural monuments and museums in the affected areas, as well as preventive mode of action.

LOCAL STRATEGIES OF PROTECTION / OPERATIONAL MODELS: identification and development - including a critical approach to the past – of new research and conservation methodologies, which satisfy the changing requirements of action and the necessities imposed by specific contexts. Already implemented best practices/projects to be disseminated and shared in integrated projects developed jointly by various actors. Rules, laws and bureaucracy issues, including questions related to the illicit trafficking in antiquities. 

ARCHAEOLOGIST AS A SOURCE OF INFORMATION IN THE CONTEXT OF CRISIS: archaeology, as a social science, is strongly connected with the contemporary society. Archaeologists as "cultural mediators" – between, on the one hand, cultures of the past and present and, on the other, between the Western culture and those of  host countries - in addition to the official relations with the local authorities, operate completely immersed in the socio-cultural areas in which they operate; archaeologists’ privileged position, rendering them both witnesses and sources of information in times of conflict and crisis.

PUBLIC ARCHAEOLOGY and COMMUNICATION: analysis of critical issues pertinent to the relationship with local communities ("Local perception of cultural heritage") for the protection and enhancement of heritage. Development of communication and dissemination strategies based on activities undertaken and planned by archaeologists on-site.

STAKEHOLDERS: avenues of interaction with the scientific community and institutions in host countries (regarding both excavations and museums). Issues relating to training of the local staff.

For a detailed list of the event's Programme as well as details on the Scientific and Organizing Committee please see the CAMNES website here.

Posted BY:  Summer Clowers

July 25, 2013

Report from Amelia: Erik Nemeth lectures on Cultural Security at ARCA's Postgraduate Certificate Program

by Yasmin Hamed, ARCA Intern

Week Seven of ARCA's Postgraduate Certificate Program got off to an unusual start with most of this year’s students off-site. Monday and Tuesday saw the remnants of the long weekend break where many of the students travelled both within and beyond Italy. Students enjoyed the sights around Italy such as Bari, Matera, Venice, Milan and Florence in addition to other locations beyond the borders such as Switzerland, Serbia, Marrakech and Malta.

Our slower than usual return to classes on Wednesday afternoon began our first day of a new module on Cultural Security led by Dr. Erik Nemeth. With a brief segue from art crime, our first encounter focused on the interdisciplinary nature of Cultural Security and the interactions of each discipline very thoroughly represented in our class from the three areas of physical, political and economic spheres.

With our first full day of classes we further examined the dimensions of cultural security during three main temporal spheres: the Second World War, the Cold War, and the Post-Cold War periods. The dynamics between cultural security and cultural intelligence opened up a discussion on the problems and solutions currently at play on the international field. Again, each student offered insights from their own fields. Dr. Nemeth’s presentations offered a view of cultural security through a series of well-known case studies such as the infamous destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhasin Afghanistan in 2001 and of the Samarra Mosque in Iraq in 2006.

A discussion of the great losses to cultural property could only be followed with the counter-active measures: cultural intelligence services. Dr. Nemeth’s scientific approach to this subject brought about a new way of attacking our studies through the use of statistical analysis. This data may be used to predict threatened cultural heritage sites worldwide by organizations who are tasked with the protection of cultural property in areas of conflict.

As we are getting further and further into the course, an interesting dynamic begins to arise. Having covered such significant areas such as bi-lateral agreements previously in our class on Art Crime in War with Judge Arthur Tompkins, in addition to during our class on Art and Heritage Law, we are now garnering a view of intricate subject areas such as this from a number of viewpoints. This multi-disciplinary approach to major issues within the area of art crime research is creating a solid foundation in our knowledge of this area with every new module. 

Coming off the hectic travel during the long weekend, and with no formally arranged class trips, most students took advantage of last weekend to relax. A fantastic birthday party for one of the students at the top of Amelia beside the duomo offered astounding panoramic views of Amelia. As Week Seven came to a close, some of our students even benefited from a poolside reading of Dorit Straus’ article on “Insurance Claims and the Art Market” in preparation for Week Eight in ARCA’s 2013 Postgraduate Program.

October 25, 2012

Former FBI Agent Virginia Curry on Cultural Security, Fire and Safety, and “Utility” of stolen art

by Catherine Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor

Virginia Curry, a licensed security consultant, was the FBI Agent responsible for the facilities security and personnel security for 35 locations in greater Los Angeles subsequent to the events of 9-11.  Ms. Curry provided perspective on the trade-off between protecting buildings against theft and protecting people in the event of an emergency. Prior to becoming an FBI Special Agent, Ms. Curry surveyed and approved casino security measures in Atlantic City as a New Jersey state investigator.  I followed up via email with Ms. Curry recently to ask her professional opinion regarding the thieves breaking into the Kunsthal Rotterdam on October 16:
This is about safety and risk management.  Fire and safety codes always ensure that, in the event of an emergency, all doors must release from the inside to allow someone inside during an emergency to exit to safety. The preservation of human life is more important than goods or money (even in a casino).
Without going into further detail, what they did was actually more of a takeoff on the scheme of "How to Steal a Million" [the 1966 movie starring Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole] where the thieves took advantage of the weakness of a security system and the human element.  In this Rotterdam case, the human element was again the sanctity of life over the value of property. The perpetrator did not necessarily have to include a member of museum staff, but rather someone who had access to the building prior to this event.
You cannot change the default setting on the inside door releases in an emergency. As pointed out earlier by Ton Cremers, institutions need to make it harder for someone to get to what they are trying to protect. Building in physical delays such as walls and doors is like building a maze around a high value item "the cheese".
Security professionals assessing risk always determine how long it takes to breach the security measures, resolve the maze and return to safely exit the facility in a direct comparison to the primary responders. If the protocol calls for an alarm to be verified prior to the notification of the police, this delays the police response time, which is also predicated on their own law enforcement priorities.
I very much concur with Dr. Tom Flynn’s recent assessment that stolen art has “utility”. The power of “utility” in economic theory is not necessarily always measured in a cash value.