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Social platform on endangered cultural heritage and on illicit trafficking of cultural goods


The platform should bring together the research community, public and private actors, and policy makers at national and international levels working on issues related to the illicit trafficking of cultural goods and on the protection, preservation or reconstruction of cultural heritage in danger. Traffic routes, provenance research (including satellite imagery), economic aspects (including links to terrorism)[[ This topic contributes to the Focus Area on the Security Union. Proposals should therefore address the destruction of archaeological sites by terrorist groups as well as the funding of terrorist activities via illicit excavations of archaeological sites and the illicit removal from conflict zones of cultural goods as noted in the Commission's Action Plan for strengthening the fight against terrorist financing terrorist groups [COM(2016) 50 final]. ]], heritage memory preservation (including safe heavens and 3D reconstruction), return and restitution, and other responses such as legislation, training, and awareness raising programmes for specialised communities (art curators, galleries, collectors and dealers) and the general public should be considered. The platform should map past and ongoing research, collect, analyse and promote best practices from Europe and beyond, and become a major European reference for transnational and interdisciplinary networking in this policy area.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the order of EUR 1.5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Initiatives to protect endangered cultural heritage and to stop their illicit trade are multiplying, with international bodies, the EU, national governments and other institutions developing useful, though mainly uncoordinated, initiatives. The challenge is to take stock of ongoing initiatives, promote mutual learning and coordination, and identify knowledge and intervention gaps.

The action will facilitate the uptake and dissemination of research and best practices, thereby contributing to the development of strategic and integrated European and international policies and interventions. It will develop toolkits and recommendations for a variety of stakeholders. It will also build a consensus on future needs and support the EU in developing an innovative and focused research agenda on endangered cultural heritage.