Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970)


The Convention encourages cooperation among nations to prevent the illicit movement of cultural property across borders. States of origin can request assistance from other nations in recovering illegally obtained cultural property; however, the Convention stipulates the state will pay just compensation to innocent purchasers or those who hold valid title to the property. The Convention suggests that states declare some cultural property as inalienable to help prevent its export and, where necessary, facilitate its recovery. The Convention recommends the development of an export certification program to help control the flow of cultural property and to provide an authenticated provenance for the object. Much of the responsibility for controlling the illegal flow of cultural property is placed on the states of origin.