Growing up, we all learned that Egypt has one third of the world’s antiquities, a reputation that earns the country a highly esteemed position by both the cultural world and UNESCO. In a recent meeting, Egypt has been voted to head a subsidiary committee for the fight against illicit trafficking of antiquities.
This achievement puts Egypt as the first Arab country to head this committee since its inception in 2013. Egypt will be heading the subsidiary committee for the period between May 2018 and May 2019. UNESCO created the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property in 1970, which came into effect in 1972. Since that time, over 130 countries have signed the treaty.
The subsidiary committee of the convention was created in 2013 to hold 18 members, each voted in for a four-year term; Egypt earned its membership in 2017, before being voted to take the lead this year.
To enhance its efforts further, Egypt is also part of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee, falling under the same 1970 Convention, which works on retrieving stolen cultural properties and safely returning them to their country of origin.
We hope this improves the stature of Egypt as a strong and globally effective country. Perhaps our ambassadors in such committees can make us all proud and contribute their efforts in the fight of keeping cultural properties safe worldwide.