14.11.2013 - UNESCO Office in Apia

Samoa Joins the Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention

The Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage adopted by UNESCO in 2003 promotes the safeguarding of traditional expressions of cultures for sustainable development through international cooperation. Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), transmitted from generation to generation, provides a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity. States Parties to the ICH are eligible for the ICH Fund which supports the ICH safeguarding projects and inventorying making in states parties.

“Today I am proud to announce that Samoa has ratified the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and I carry with me the Instrument of Ratification to deposit here at UNESCO Headquarters,” Minister for the Education, Culture and Sports Hon. Magele Mauiliu Magele said at the general policy debate of the 37th session of the General Conference of UNESCO in Paris.

“Samoa is known for its cultural strength and vitality, arising from a traditional, community-based governance system,” Hon. Magele continued. “This system contributes towards the stability of the nation of Samoa, which celebrates its 50th anniversary of independence in 2012.”

Samoa’s ratification of the ICH Convention was a result of intensified efforts launched in 2010.  Through a series of workshops and public consultations carried out by the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (MESC) with the support of UNESCO, “Champions of Culture” were formed to advocate for the ICH safeguarding and its contribution to the well-being of the communities in Samoa that is graduating to the middle income status with vibrant culture and is recovering from the damages caused by the Cyclone Evan in 2012."

“One of the Samoa’s progresses in achieving its key commitments is the commencement of inventorying of our heritage and development of a nomination for the ICH Representative List,” Hon. Magele said. “Further assistance are needed for the necessary resources and expertise to promote the preservation of our cultural heritage, ensure our language stays strong and it’s not eroded by external influences, and integrate our culture and values within the school curricula”.

Samoa is the 8th state party from the Pacific region, following PNG (2008), Tonga (2009), Fiji (2010), Vanuatu (2010), Palau (2011), Nauru (2013), and FSM (2013). 

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