(Programme Specialist, International Standards Section, Division of Cultural Heritage, UNESCO Paris, France)
Object ID is a minimum international standard for describing cultural objects. It has been designed through a joint effort of the museum community, law-enforcement agencies and major players of the international art market, and insurance industry.
Its main aim is to combat art theft and illicit traffic in cultural property by providing an easy though substantive information on cultural objects, thus facilitating their identification and possible restitution of stolen and/or illicitly exported cultural property. UNESCO therefore strongly encourages use the use of Object-ID.
Outside UNESCO, Object ID has been widely promoted by major national and international law-enforcement agencies (such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (USA), Scotland Yard (UK) and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL)); as well as the museum community, cultural heritage professionals and insurance companies.