19.05.2017 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

Building Awareness on Disaster through Memory of the World

18 May—Jakarta. Preservation and access are two key words emphasized by UNESCO during an expert meeting on documentary heritage preservation titled “Lessons from the Ocean: Building the Awareness on Disaster via Memory of the World” which took place in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The event organized by National Archives of Indonesia (ANRI) in commemoration of the National Archive Day was attended by documentary preservation experts from the Japan, South Korea, Sri Lanka and also lndonesian experts from around the country.

H.E. Dr. Asman Abnur, Minister of Bureacracy and Administrative Reform opened the event. In his opening remarks, Dr. Abnur stressed that Indonesia must take preservation of documents seriously and must take concrete actions including strengthening the capacity of archivists in managing the archives especially with latest digital skills. He also emphasized the need to have specialized training institutions to train current and future archivists in Indonesia. Dr. Mustari Irawan, the Director General of the National Archives is encouraged by UNESCO’s ongoing effort in strengthening and supporting preservation of documentary heritage in Indonesia.

UNESCO’s Memory of the World programme was highlighted as one of the ways to showcase preservation of documentary heritage. Dr. Ming-Kuok LIM of UNESCO Office in Jakarta discussed the various objectives of the Memory of the World and encouraged the participants to put equal emphasis on the preservation as well as in ensuring public access to documentary heritage.
Dr. Lim also shared with the participants the UNESCO-ASEAN Member States Plan of Action for the Implementation of the UNESCO Recommendation on Documentary Heritage which was recently adopted after a three-day consultation meeting with representatives from all ASEAN countries plus China, Japan, South Korea and Timor-Leste which took place in Kuala Lumpur from 9-11 May.

Professor Sakamoto, a researcher of beaten bark paper from Japan, highlighted the importance of involving universities in the work of documentary heritage preservation which also helps train the future generation of archivists. Ms. Stacey Choi from a private company specializing in archival preservation methods discussed the use of natural preservatives to protect documents. Dr Hamzah Latief from the Faculty of Earth Sciences and Technology, Bandung Institute of Technology detailed his work in the area of documenting tsunami in Indonesia. According to Dr Latief, Indonesia experience one tsunami every four years.

The Memory of the World (MOW) programme was established by UNESCO in 1992 to help improve the state of preservation of and access to documentary heritage around the world.  Currently, there are 348 items of documentary heritage inscribed on the MOW International Register. Indonesia has five documentary heritage inscribed on the International Register, including:

  • Archives of the Dutch East India Company (inscribed in 2003)
  • La Galigo (inscribed in 2011)
  • Babad Diponegoro or Autobiographical Chronicle of Prince Diponegoro (inscribed in 2013)
  • Nāgarakrĕtāgama or Description of the Country (1365 AD) (inscribed in 2013)
  • Asian-African Conference Archives (inscribed in 2015)

The Recommendation concerning the Preservation of, and Access to, Documentary Heritage including in Digital Form, approved by the UNESCO General Conference 2015 in its 38th Session, is the most up to date ‘normative tool’ to support Member States, museums, archives, libraries, the private sector amongst others, in their work to preserve and provide access to the world’s documentary heritage.

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