David Hill is chairman of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures.
After many years, the dispute between Greece and Britain over the possession of the ancient Parthenon sculptures may be moving towards resolution as a result of a recent change to UNESCO's rules dealing with stolen cultural property [...] The new opportunity to resolve the issue comes with a change to rules agreed by UNESCO in September 2010. Under the new rules, any UNESCO member can apply to it to mediate in a dispute where it claims cultural property has been 'illicitly appropriated'. Last July, Greece became the first UNESCO member to test the new rules when Culture Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos went to Paris and asked UNESCO to intercede. Following the meeting, UNESCO's secretary-general, Irina Bokova, wrote to the British government asking it to agree to mediation. Under the new procedure, it is still open to Britain to reject the request because the mediation can take place only by 'mutual consent'. [...] If the matter does go to mediation, Britain can expect little support from the other UNESCO members or the international community[...].David Hill, 'Rule changes could end Britain’s game of playing with marbles', Sydney Morning Herald, November 8, 2013.