This chapter provides an overview of multilateral interventions in the field of cultural heritage and its legal protection over the last century by focusing on the work of specialist cultural international organizations that have spearheaded the adoption and implementation of the leading treaties. The first part examines the early work of the League of Nations’ Intellectual Cooperation Organisation from the 1920s to the Second World War. The second part considers the work of its successor, UNESCO from the mid-twentieth century to the present day. The concluding observations consider the challenges which both organizations faced in realizing their mission in the cultural field. A deeper understanding of the ideals, challenges, and tensions which have marked the internal workings of UNESCO, its forerunner, and their Members States is fundamental to appreciating the instruments and initiatives in the cultural field that they adopted and seek to implement.
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