Protecting Iraqi’s rich culture from organised crime by strengthening internal capabilities is the overall goal of “The Pilot National Database for Cultural Heritage Protection in Iraq” project. This common initiative is implemented by the Iraqi authorities with the support of EUAM Iraq and funded by the German government.
As part of this project EUAM Iraq convened a 2-day workshop to finalise the design of a comprehensive database with representatives of the Federal Intelligence and Investigations Agency (FIIA) and the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage (SBAH). This system will enhance Iraqi national capabilities to investigate artefact related crimes and to hinder the international illicit trafficking of cultural artefacts. The latter is one of the most profitable sources of funding for criminal and terrorist organisations.
In addition, this initiative will also link the institutional partners responsible for the protection of national cultural heritage in the Ministry of the Interior with those of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The database will serve as an investigative tool for tracing stolen goods and artefacts and will be linked to the National Database of stolen works of art.
The Italian company CY4GATE and archaeologists from Durham University are providing the technical support and developing the database. The project is an example for the sharing of knowledge from the European Union by the Italian Carabinieri TPC, which is widely regarded as a leader in the fight against the destruction of cultural heritage and combating theft, illegal excavation of archaeological sites and the trafficking and counterfeiting of stolen goods.