ICH Safeguarding in the Marshall Islands
A Workshop on ICH Safeguarding in the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) took place in Majuro from 14 to 16 June 2011. The Workshop was organised by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and its Historic Preservation Office (HPO) in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and RMI National Commission for UNESCO. It was attended by representatives of some twenty atolls of the country, representative of the Council of Iroij that constitutes the upper house of Parliament as an advisory body comprising twelve traditional chiefs, as well as local experts and authorities. "Culture - it is who we are and what makes us human. It is what makes us uniquely Marshallese." declared Iroij Kotak Loeak in his opening speech.
The Workshop provided an opportunity for national experts to present RMI's ICH elements under the three pillars "Ocean", "Land" and "Sea" and to know more about the implications of ratification of the UNESCO 2003 Convention. Special presentations were also made on the topics of climate change and "Marshallising" curriculum.
The participants dicussed how to enhance ICH safeguarding in RMI based on the existing Historic Preservation Act (1991) that includes a provision on "Dri Kabeel", an official recognition to be awarded to custodians and communities hoding important skills, knowledge and know-how which are integral part of ICH.