UNESCO Member States who have lost certain cultural objects of fundamental significance and who are calling for their restitution or return, in cases where international conventions cannot be applied, may call on the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation.
Set up in 1978 by the resolution 20 C4/7.6/5 at the 20th Session of the UNESCO General Conference of UNESCO, the return and restitution committee comprises 22 Member States, which meet every two years and can also organize extraordinary sessions.
In 2008, the Committee celebrated its 30th anniversary during an extraordinary session in Seoul, Republic of Korea, from 25 to 28 November.
The Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation is an intergovernmental body with an advisory role. It provides a framework for discussion and negotiation, but its recommendations concerning inter-State disputes are not legally binding.
Essentially, this Committee seeks ways and means of facilitating bilateral negotiations, promoting multilateral and bilateral cooperation with a view to the restitution or return of cultural property as well as fostering a public information campaign on the issue, and promoting exchanges of cultural property.
For more information: Illicit trafficking and restitution of cultural property