Call for Proposals: Systemizing Data on Looted, Stolen & Illegally Exported Cultural Property of Yemen

Grant Size Not Available   ,   Closing Date


UNESCO Regional Office for the Gulf States and Yemen has launched a call for proposals to develop a methodology for systemizing available information on the looted Yemeni cultural property.

Yemeni authorities have reported looting and illegal excavations during the past eight years. The impoverished living conditions and the financial crisis are pushing individuals to illegally excavate and loot, before channelling artefacts to international and neighbouring markets. The expansion of the art market in the region has also created a high demand for cultural objects and increased the prevalence of illegal trafficking originating from countries that do not have the necessary protection measures in place.


The primary objectives of this assignment are to:

  • develop a methodology for an electronic database of reported looted Yemeni cultural property, including a meaningful electronic template for looted cultural property in English and Arabic, based on the standards of international databases, while integrating elements of typology of objects, description, provenance, visuals as available, among other elements; and 

  • integrate all available data reported by Yemeni authorities, which UNESCO has received in electronic and paper format, using the methodology and the template developed, in English and Arabic.


The selected candidate(s) (an expert or a team of experts) is expected to:

  • Deliver a comprehensive offline database containing detailed, available and standardized information on looted and trafficked Yemeni cultural artifacts; 

  • Ensure availability of systematized data in both languages – English and Arabic;

  • Be available for regular meetings and exchanges with UNESCO throughout the implementation of the entire assignment.

Work Tasks

The selected candidate(s) (an expert or a team of experts) will be tasked to: 

  • Get to know available methodologies on systematizing, building databases of looted cultural property, available software that can host such data, and the templates being used by internationally recognized databases of looted cultural property. 

  • Develop methodology for the offline database (available in English and Arabic), systematizing the data on looted Yemeni cultural objects and develop a template based on the methodology. 

  • Based on the reports of Yemeni authorities (approx. 1000 standard pages in English and Arabic), integrate into the created database the detailed documentation for each cultural property, including descriptions, typology, dimensions, material composition, provenance, inventory references, and any available historical or cultural context, among other elements, as well as photos and visuals, wherever available. 

  • Ensure the standardization of data entry, employing internationally recognized standards for cataloging cultural artifacts. This will enhance the interoperability of the database and facilitate collaboration with other initiatives. 

  • Prepare a report at the end of assignment, outlining recommendations for the steps forward and lessons learned from the implementation of the methodology.

Timetable: The project is expected to commence end-June 2024. Specific milestones and deliverables will be agreed upon between the expert/team of experts and UNESCO.


Applicants shall possess the following qualifications and skills: 

  • Background and at least 5 years of experience in the field of archaeology, cultural heritage preservation, museology, combating illicit trafficking of cultural property, or a related field. 

  • Demonstrated experience in database management, documentation, and cataloging of cultural artifacts, preferably with experience in projects related to stolen or trafficked art/antiquities. 

  • Strong knowledge of international legal frameworks related to the protection of cultural heritage and international standards for cataloging cultural heritage. 

  • Excellent research and documentation skills. 

  • Knowledge of Arabic is mandatory. 

  • Familiarity with the cultural and historical context of Yemen and internationally recognized databases of looted cultural property is highly desirable.

  • Experience Required: Applicants should have a minimum of 5 years of relevant experience in cultural heritage documentation, research and cataloging, with a demonstrated track record of successfully completed projects.

Post Date: May 14, 2024

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