Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

UNESCO (1970) and UNIDROIT (1995) Conventions

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_399


The growth in the international market in art works and other cultural objects following World War II prompted the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to begin the drafting in the 1960s of an international convention to control this trade. The 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (“the UNESCO Convention”) was adopted in late 1970; there are currently 123 States Parties.

Recognizing that there were impediments to acceptance of the 1970 UNESCO Convention particularly by European civil law nations, UNESCO asked the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) to draft a new convention to respond to these concerns, and in 1995, the Unidroit Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects was finalized. This convention focuses on the creation of private rights of action, through adoption of uniform...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.



  1. O'Keefe, P.J. 2007. Commentary on the 1970 UNESCO Convention, 2nd ed. Leicester: Institute of Art and Law.Google Scholar
  2. Vigneron, S. 2008. Trafic illicite et restitution des biens culturels, Royaume Uni, in M. Cornu & J. Fromageau (ed.) Protection de la propriété culturelle et circulation des biens culturels. Étude de droit comparé Europe /Asie. Available at: http://www.gip-recherche-justice.fr/IMG/pdf/173-RF-Cornu_Protection_propriete_culturelle.pdf.

Further Reading

  1. Gerstenblith, P. 2012. Models of implementation of the 1970 UNESCO Convention: can their effectiveness be determined?, in L.V. Prott, R. Redmond-Cooper & S. Urice (ed.) Realising cultural heritage law: Festschrift in honour of Patrick O’Keefe: 9-25. Leicester: Institute of Art and Law.Google Scholar
  2. O'Keefe, P.J. & L.V. Prott. 2011. Cultural heritage conventions and other instruments: a compendium with commentary. Builth Wells: Institute of Art and Law.Google Scholar
  3. Prott, L.V. 1996. Commentary on the Unidroit Convention. Leicester: Institute of Art and Law.Google Scholar
  4. UNIDROIT. 1995. Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects. Available at: http://unidroit.org/english/conventions/1995culturalproperty/main.htm.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DePaul University College of LawChicagoUSA