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Proactieve beveiligingsvisie op museumcongres Kunst en Antiekcriminaliteit in Beiroet - Libanon



Countering Antiquities Trafficking (CAT) in the Mashreq

From April 16 – 20, 2018 I had the pleasure to be one of a specialized group of trainers for Countering Antiquities Trafficking in the Mashreq: A Training Program for Specialists Working to Deter Cultural Property Theft and the Illicit Trafficking of Antiquities, a program developed through the Secretariat of the 1970 Convention, the unit responsible for the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. 

                                   

Countering Antiquities Trafficking

Funded through UNESCO's Heritage Emergency Fund, the multidisciplinary practical training program took place at UNESCO's Regional Office in Beirut, and involved experts working with and in collaboration to :

                                                        

UNESCO — the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris,  ARCA — the Association for Research into Crimes against Art, UNIDROIT — International Institute for the Unification of Private Law, ICOM — International Council of Museums, UNODC — the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and INTERPOL— the International Criminal Police Organization. 

                        



The CAT in the Mashreq training program was developed to provide technical support (risk management measures, situational interpretations, drawing conclusions,making recommendations) to staff from governmental authorities, art professionals, academics and decision-makers who work in fragile source countries, the very places where illicit antiquities originate and where heritage trafficking incidents are known to occur. 


Developed by professionals for professionals, who understand the necessity of tackling the prevalent issues contributing to heritage crimes and cross-border smuggling of illegally exported antiquities, this initiative, hopefully replicable in more countries, was developed as a means of providing support to the affected  source and transit countries of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey. 

The overarching goal is to help heritage professionals address issues of common heritage concern in countries where civil unrest and social turmoil have contributed to porous borders where the absence of controls contributes to avenues for the looting and trafficking of cultural artifacts, as well as on occasion, incidences of cultural cleansing.

As a part of this ambitious initiative, 32 trainees where invited from the five aforementioned designated countries.  Each trainee, while there to learn, also contributed from their own professional knowledge, expertise and first-hand knowledge if the issues as they relate to the situation in their own country. Drawing upon my own professional experiences in cross-border policing, museum security and risk management, my objective in the initiative was to build multilateral capacity and to strengthen knowledge as it relates to the intricacies of art crime and heritage protection across jurisdictions.

                                      


D. Drent, Associate Director, SoSecure International is training proactive security



Criminals work outside border considerations.

Always at the forefront of my training module was to need to develop a purposeful framework, for knowledge transfer and exchange, to be used to develop activities and approaches that move knowledge from those who have first hand experience in a specific area to others who need similar knowledge before during or after a similar incident.  Also of importance was to foster in others, the trust to work collaboratively and to be open to learning from one another as I believe it takes a non-political, multidisciplinary and multi-visionary approach to adequately deter and detect incidents of art crime as they across  country boundaries.
There’s a difference between crime prevention and crime reaction:  Changing the way we think.

My contribution to the week-long training was to guide and coach participants through interactive case studies and exercises, promoting a proactive and systematically collaborative mind set to heritage risk management.  To that end,  I believe I was able to encourage the participants to take into consideration a variety of unexplored approaches to site security and protection.


                                      

This was done not only by analyzing and reviewing past incidents after they occur, in order to deter cultural property theft and illicit trafficking but to also fulfill my own goal for this training which was to raise individual and agency understanding of the need for a more proactive prevention and preparation approach, by predicting what types of emergencies might occur in advance of an incident or an all-out crisis, in order to rectify deficiencies in risk management, to prevent incidents from happening.

This was done by demonstrating the use of practical, proactive security measurements, proactive planning, predictive analysis, threat and risk management assessment, many of which can be applied to the conflict theatre and could be applicable to the situations occurring in this specific region.

During my module participants were given real world proactive vs. reactive examples of security measures and risk management advance planning techniques as this is the single most important thing an organisation can do to defend itself against a threat, i.e.  understanding its existing vulnerabilities and setting up a framework for addressing them before incidences can occur.   By sharing and coordinating relevant information and existing security processes my goal was to help trainees be better able to protect assets, people, property (tangible and intangible), and archival information, before a loss occurs.

With so many incidents happening in the last decades in this region we still tend to look at the conflict itself and how to stop the trafficking of stolen goods after they have already been taken.  We need to start thinking outside the box and start looking how we can predict those incidents before they occur, and with that knowledge how we can find and develop solutions, measurements and support how to prevent them. And for the record, no I do not mean that this can stop a conflict, I mean that if it obvious that there can be a conflict, we should not wait until it is happening and react to it then.

Time to look further ahead as well as looking back.

Although I understand the current situations occurring in this zone, and the sensitive feelings of those involved, knowing that until now, their focus has been on getting the stolen, plundered or otherwise stolen or destroyed cultural heritage objects back, it is also time to look forward and try the prevent the next possible situation to happen.  I’m proud and honored that I was asked to be part of this training and hope that a little seed of proactivity was planted, and there, will continue to grow.


Dick Drent, CPE

Founding Director, Omnirisk
Associate Director, SoSecure International

Museum and Site Risk Management Expert

26 mei 2018




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