PURPOSE - The International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) is an independent intergovernmental Organisation with its seat in the Villa Aldobrandini in Rome. Its purpose is to study needs and methods for modernising, harmonising and co-ordinating private and in particular commercial law as between States and groups of States and to formulate uniform law instruments, principles and rules to achieve those objectives.
ORIGINS - Set up in 1926 as an auxiliary organ of the League of Nations, the Institute was, following the demise of the League, re-established in 1940 on the basis of a multilateral agreement, the UNIDROIT Statute.
UNIDROIT maintains close ties of co-operation with other international Organisations, both intergovernmental and nongovernmental, which in many cases take the form of co-operation agreements concluded at inter-Secretariat level. By reason of its expertise in the international unification of law, UNIDROIT is moreover at times commissioned by such other Organisations to prepare comparative law studies (and/or draft Conventions designed to serve as the basis for the preparation and/or finalization of international instruments in those Organisations (example of the 1954 UNESCO Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict).
The work on the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects started at the request of UNESCO in the early 80s'.
Essential support for UNIDROIT's core activity - that is the drawing up of uniform rules - is provided by its maintenance of a world-renowned library, its preparation of a number of specialised publications in the field of the unification of law, its legal cooperation programme and its periodic organisation of congresses, meetings and seminars.