11.03.2013 - UNESCO Office in Apia

Nauru Joined the Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention

Nauru became a party to the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) Convention in March 2013, the seventh country in the Pacific to ratify this Convention. UNESCO administers seven Conventions in culture. It is the first time that Nauru joined the UNESCO Convention in culture.

Nauru, an island state in the Micronesia region of the Pacific, is the world’s smallest republic with its population of around 9,000.  Although it is known for its phosphate mining industry, Nauru has its own language and unique culture, which can now be safeguarded under the ICH Convention.

The ratification process began with a national consultation held in Yaren in May 2011 by the Ministry of Home Affairs with the assistance of UNESCO.  The Workshop was an opportunity for Nauruan experts to present a variety of traditional cultural expressions such as traditional chants, string figures, traditional canoe-building, traditional sports and performing arts.  One expert brought in a frigate bird to the conference room when he made a presentation on a frigate bird catching, a traditional practice that is popular among Nauruan men. The frigate bird is the national symbol of Nauru.

The participants recommended the Government to join the ICH Convention and develop a strategy for the ICH safeguarding.  This recommendation was further examined by the Working Treaty Group (WTC), an inter-ministerial body which examines matters on international instruments.  Upon the recommendation of the WTG, the Cabinet made a decision to accede to the ICH Convention.  The Instrument of Ratification signed by the President of Nauru was received by UNESCO in March 2013.

Nauru joins Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga, Palau and Federated States of Micronesia as State Parties to the ICH Convention.




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