Celebrating 40 years of UNESCO World Heritage Convention in Nepal
Young people marked the beginning of celebrations of the fortieth anniversary of UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention with a programme organized by the Chomolungma UNESCO Centre (CUC) at the Nepal Tourism Board last Saturday in Kathmandu.
Nepal ratified the Convention on 20 June 1978, and so far, four sites have been recognized as World Heritage properties in the country: two cultural, the Kathmandu Valley and Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha; and two natural, Sagarmatha National Park and Chitwan National Park.
“The 40th anniversary of the Convention is an excellent occasion to illustrate how the participation of local communities can – and should – be a ‘win-win scenario’ for everyone who is committed to protecting the world’s heritage and to demonstrate how World Heritage matters in the life of communities,” Axel Plathe, UNESCO Representative to Nepal, said at the event that was introduced by Bhim Nepal introducing the World heritage Convention
Bam Kumari Budha Magar from the Ethnography Museum of Nepal stressed the need of communities to use their own perspective in identifying and defining their diverse cultural assets, particularly in a country that has such diverse cultures as Nepal, in order to ensure their protection.
Naradmani Hartamchali, a member of the intangible cultural heritage council, commended the young people participating in the event as good sign of their taking responsibility in protecting Nepal’s heritage. He said that proper preservation of tangible heritage is incomplete without a thorough understanding of its association with intangible heritage. He highlighted the council’s effort in setting up an institutional framework to carry on the concept of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention, 2003.
The chair of the programme, Sushil Pandey, Deputy Secretary-General of Nepal National Commission for UNESCO, highlighted among others, climate change, as one of risks to Nepal’s world heritage and expressed the commission’s keen interest in collaborating for protecting Nepal’s world heritage through active mobilization of ASPnet schools and other key stakeholders.
The CUC is planning to host other events, including a heritage walk, a photo exhibition of world heritage in South-Asian countries, a screening of heritage related educational kits among school students – to further showcase the World Heritage movement in Nepal among youth and to debate on the links between heritage protection, sustainable development and the role of local communities.