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Nicosia Council of Europe conference focuses on protecting cultural heritage

The ruins of Salamis

A conference to promote the Council of Europe’s convention on offences related to cultural property within governments and civil society kicked off in Nicosia on Thursday.

The 2017 convention, also known as the Nicosia Convention, aims at preventing the destruction of cultural heritage and combating the illicit trafficking of cultural property and the criminalisation of related offences, which are areas of particular concern for Cyprus.

The conference, Act for Heritage!, is part of the Council of Europe`s (CoE) 70th anniversary celebrations, and is organised by the foreign ministry, the commissioner for volunteerism, non-governmental organisations, and the CoE.

The opening ceremony will take place on Thursday evening at the presidential palace, under the auspices of President Nicos Anastasiades.

On Friday, there will be speeches by Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides and deputy secretary-general of the Council of Europe Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni.

The conference will be attended by officials of international organisations including the secretary-general of the World Customs Organisation Dr Kunio Mikuriya.

It will bring together more than 120 delegates from more than 40 countries, the EU, international organisations such as Unesco and the OSCE, non-governmental organisations, academia and professional associations.

Participants will discuss effective ways to promote the universality of the Nicosia Convention and will consider possible synergies with other conventions under international law. They will also exchange views on the role of civil society, businesses and government authorities in combating cultural property offences, as well as ways to raise public awareness through the media and education.

The Council of Europe Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property, also known as the Nicosia Convention, was adopted during the Cyprus chairmanship of the Council of Europe`s Committee of Ministers in 2017.

It has so far been ratified by the Republic of Cyprus and Mexico and has been signed by 10 other states.

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