The ECOWAS Commission evaluates the Action Plan on the restitution of cultural property

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Madame Abla Dzifa Gomashie, the former Deputy Minister of Tourism represented Ghana at the event

The first meeting of the Regional Committee to monitor the implementation of the 2019-2023 ECOWAS Action Plan on the return of cultural property to their countries of origin was held in Benin.

The meeting organized by the ECOWAS Commission aims to assess the roadmap of the Action Plan on the restitution of cultural property to reorient the implementation.

Madame Abla Dzifa Gomashie, former Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts and Member of Parliament for Ketu South represented Ghana at the meeting.

The Action Plan is a directive of the 54th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government held on December 22, 2018 in Abuja, Nigeria, which had already adopted a Political Declaration on the Return of African Cultural Objects to the countries of origin.

The objective of the Plan is to contribute to the return of the cultural heritage of ECOWAS Member States to their countries of origin in order to reconstitute the regional cultural heritage, strengthen the synergy of action of the Region on the issue of restitution, which has become a political question.

Professor Ignacio TIRADO, Secretary General of the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), in a report sent to the Ghanaian news agency, reminded participants that if African states rightly demand restitution cultural property lost in colonial times, they also had a duty to protect what was left in their country and what would be returned.

He said there was a need to look back and forward in ratifying the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention.

Mr. Mamadou Traoré, Acting Commissioner of the Department of Education, Science and Culture of ECOWAS, said that the implementation of the ECOWAS Plan could help strengthen the rich but insufficiently protected regional heritage.

“Indeed, the share of heritage in the ECOWAS region is only 2.85% on the List of World Cultural and Natural Heritage and 3.65% on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. “, did he declare.

Mr Traoré said that it was time, after more than two years of adoption by heads of state, that the implementation of the action plan be reviewed to reorient actions or stimulate implementation in its together.

He urged Committee members to use their experiences, networks and skills to support the implementation of the Action Plan.
Mr. Traoré called on them to examine the level of implementation of the action plan and to take up the various challenges that remained to be taken up to boost the process.

These challenges mainly consist of validating and ensuring compliance with the roadmap of the Action Plan, formulating recommendations for an effective mobilization of resources to finance the Action Plan and supporting States in the restitution of their cultural property. .

He specified that it was a question of supporting the negotiation strategy with the holder countries for the return of cultural property to their countries of origin and of reporting to the Heads of State or to the representative designated by them, on the implementation of the Action Plan.

Mr. Traoré congratulated the technical and financial partners who assisted in the implementation of the project.


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