The WCO is launching its training Handbook on Prevention of Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Heritage (PITCH) in Russian and Spanish, after publishing the first edition of this document in English and French less than a year and a half ago.
The translation into Russian was made possible due to the cooperation with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The OSCE also supported the first deployment of the WCO PITCH training in the Russian language, in five Central Asian countries in March 2019. The translation into Spanish was kindly provided by the Spanish Customs administration.
The launch of the Russian and Spanish versions of the Handbook also coincides with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. The UNESCO 1970 Convention is the first instrument of the international law aimed at the protection of cultural heritage during peacetime.
“We believe the timing could not be more opportune to demonstrate that the global Customs community takes illicit trafficking of cultural goods seriously,” said WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya. “In cooperation with its longstanding partners, the WCO remains committed to keep supporting its Members in the implementation of the provisions of the 1970 Convention and boosting their operational capacity on the ground”, added Dr. Mikuriya.
Since 2017, in partnership with UNESCO regional offices in Lebanon and Senegal, the WCO has deployed the PITCH training in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and West and Central Africa (WCA) regions. Further deployments in these and other regions are also envisaged.
This Handbook is a law enforcement sensitive document available only for the Customs officers who passed the WCO specialized PITCH training.
Donors interested in supporting the delivery of PITCH training are encouraged to contact the WCO team. The global deployment of the methods and know-how in the PITCH Handbook will lead to a unified and more efficient Customs response to trafficking in cultural objects.
23 April 2020