06.05.2017 - UNESCO Office in Apia

Youth as Safeguarding Actors of Intangible Cultural Heritage


UNESCO supported the networking meeting on Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) safeguarding that took place in Koror from 25 to 27 May 2017. The Meeting was held jointly by the International Information and Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region under the auspices of UNESCO (ICHCAP) and the Palau authorities. Representing host country, Hon. Baklai Temengil-Chilton, Minister for Community and Cultural Affairs opened the meeting.

Under the theme “Youth as Safeguarding Actors for Pacific ICH”, the meeting aimed to promote regional cooperation to assist young ICH practitioners to contribute to ICH sustainability as key safeguarding and transmission actors.  The meeting brought together representatives of four Pacific countries (FSM, Fiji, Palau and Tonga) and NGOs (Pacific Youth Council and Waa’gey Inc.) as well as observers from Palau including the Palau Community College, Belau National Museum and UNDP/Global Environment Facility. 

The keynote presentations were made by High Chief Reklai Raphaeo B. Ngirmang and Dr Unaisi Nabobo-Baba, Professor at University of Guam, while UNESCO in Apia made a presentation on activities and vision of UNESCO for safeguarding ICH in collaboration with future generations by linking them to the Pacific Youth Development Framework. ICHCAP’s presentation was focused on its projects with the aims of engaging the youth in the Asia-Pacific region for ICH safeguarding through video production, higher education network, etc.  Based on these presentations and the country/NGOs reports, the meeting participants discussed a strategy for supporting the youth as safeguarding actors for Pacific ICH. 

The participants first noted the fact that more than half of the population in the Pacific was less than the age of 25 years old and only 13 out of 25 countries/territories in the Pacific were members of the Pacific Youth Council.  This provided a strong justification for the need to build a youth ICH practitioners network as a long-term goal.  To achieve this goal, several key actions were identified, which included, among others, the establishment of a youth ICH focal point in each country/territory, the mapping of the existing policies, programme and activities related to youth and ICH, the support of activities by young ICH practitioners and bearers, the support of the ICH safeguarding programmes with the participation of youth and the youth-led activities. Regarding the ICH transmission and education, the participants recommended the enhanced support to the formal education and scholarships as well as the non-formal education, especially, the traditional houses and spaces for learning of specific forms of Pacific ICH such as the traditional wayfinding systems. Some flagship projects such as the organization of ICH youth forum at sub-regional/regional festivals and ICHCAP publication on the youth and ICH were proposed. These proposals and recommendations will be finalized as an outcome document of the meeting.

The highlight of the meeting was the launching of the online exhibitions on Pacific ICH developed in partnership with ICHCAP/Google Culture Institute in Rep. of Korea.  The following exhibitions were launched, showcasing the colorful and vibrant ICH in Pacific islands;

Palau’s Rich Heritage in Nature and Culture https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/exhibit/palau-s-rich-heritage-in-nature-and-culture/ewISfgIo8Ob7LA?hl=en

Ngatu, Cultural Wealth of the Kingdom of Tonga https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/exhibit/ngatu-cultural-wealth-of-the-kingdom-of-tonga/NAKi_qPipunBKA?hl=en

Inspired Crafts of Samoahttps://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/exhibit/WAJCX9ba-dwMLQ

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