Cooperation Framework for Digital Silk Roads Initiative Launched
Yesterday, UNESCO Director General Koïchiro Matsuura signed a Memorandum of Understanding between UNESCO and the National Institute of Informatics (NII) of Japan concerning cooperation in promoting the Digital Silk Roads initiative, a project based on digital restoration and exchanges of cultural heritage in the Silk Roads Region.
In addition their use as trade routes, the Silk Roads covering Eurasia from China to Italy helped to spread ideas, values, cultures and knowledge. The resulting enrichment and technological progress contributed significantly to the flourishing and development of civilizations.
The Protocol now signed highlights the purpose of UNESCO set forth in its Constitution of contributing to peace and promoting international intellectual cooperation through education, science and culture, the importance of digital technologies as new and powerful tools for the promotion of intercultural dialogue and diversity and as a means of preserving the memory of human cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, through cultural heritage restoration and archiving.
The agreement is based on the outcomes of the international meeting "Tokyo Symposium for Digital Silk Roads" held in December 2001 in Tokyo as a stimulus for international cooperation in the preservation of cultural heritage of the Silk Roads region through the use of new digital technologies and the desire of NII to cooperate closely with UNESCO in a variety of activities related to Digital Silk Roads.
The protocol states that "NII and UNESCO shall establish an interdisciplinary joint "Digital Silk Roads Initiative Framework" (DSRIF) as a follow-up to the Tokyo Declaration on Digital Silk Roads issued on 15 December 2001, which aims at improving partnerships towards building Digital Silk Roads based on digital restoration and digital exchanges of cultural heritage of the Silk Roads Region."
The Digital Silk Roads Initiative Framework is an international collaborative framework functioning in interdisciplinary domains of activities with a far-reaching mandate to promote effective digital storage, restoration and exchanges of cultural heritage residing in the Silk Roads region that aims to enhance international cooperation in building Digital Silk Roads, underlining the deep interaction among cultures and civilizations which took place throughout history, thus highlighting cultural diversity in the region concerned.
The purpose of the Digital Silk Roads Initiative Framework is to set up a mechanism under which UNESCO and NII may prepare and carry out concrete projects and research activities, subject of a separate agreement setting out the rights and obligations of both parties, in partnership with experts across the world in order to make use of digital technologies as a sound platform for better mobilizing national resources for the building of Digital Silk Roads.
Subject to their agreement, the Digital Silk Roads Initiative Framework shall involve in the initial stage selected countries in the Silk Roads region.
The main objectives of the DSRIF are to undertake strategic planning, resource mobilization and management of a DSRIF network to be set up, conduct scientific studies of Digital Silk Roads cultural heritage and cultural diversity led by an international joint team under the co-ordination of UNESCO and NII, carry out result-oriented activities in launching, implementing and managing a variety of projects in key areas of digital technology, offer scholars, researchers, investigators and other users cultural and natural heritage resources, and establish centres or academies of excellence for cultural heritage restoration and archiving.
In consultation with UNESCO, NII shall also support training of trainers and experts in cultural and ICT areas such as digital image processing, archiving of cultural heritage, architecture of digital image museums and multimedia metadata management within the framework of its training programmes and academic degree promotion schemes with a view to promoting national capacity-building in local preservation and archiving of cultural heritage images in the Silk Roads region.