30.04.2012 - UNESCO Office in Kathmandu

Nepal’s intangible culture heritage stakeholders deepen knowledge about UNESCO’s 2003 Convention

©UNESCO -Kunio Takahashi giving away certificates to the workshop participants

A national workshop on the implementation of the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) concluded recently in the capital. Japan’s Ambassador to Nepal, Kunio Takahasi and Satya Mohan Joshi, a senior culture expert and vice-chairman of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Council, gave away certificates to the 48 participants of the capacity building workshop on the closing day on 20 April 2012.

The identification of the intangible heritage of hitherto excluded communities is becoming more and more urgent given its strong link to their identities and livelihood.  Hence, there is  an urgent need to build capacity to identify, define and safeguard this heritage.  This must in particular reach out to the members of the communities, who own and practice the manifold manifestations of the intangible heritage.

During the five day workshop organized by UNESCO and the Ministry of Federal Affairs, Constituent Assembly, Parliamentary Affairs and Culture, representatives from government agencies, guthis, academic institutions and local organizations, including practitioners from ten different communities contributed not only to a better understanding of the very diverse living cultural practices of Nepal.  They also learned to define and describe the many manifestations of Nepal’s ICH within the context of the Convention.   

Rupa Jha, a participant from Siraha, said that the workshop provided great opportunities to get connected with community practitioners.  She particularly appreciated the possibility to obtain first hand experience from stone carver Surya Laxmi Bajracharya during a visit to Bhinche Bahal, Patan , that was part of the workshop .

Similarly, Binod Gandarbha, who represented the Gaine community, said he now better understands Nepal’s intangible cultural heritage and how the Convention can help define and safeguard it.  He also found that the workshop provided an excellent opportunity to learn about the culture and traditions of other communities.

During the workshop, participants engaged in various group sessions that enabled them to define and describe their intangible cultural heritage. Various case studies and examples were shared by the two international trainers to explain on-going initiatives in Asia and the Pacific.

Suzanne Ogge–Milou, one of the trainers, said that the workshop established a solid ground for an understanding of the key concepts and tools of the Convention.  She expressed her appreciation of the great engagement of all participants throughout the five day event, stressing  the need to integrate more case studies from Nepal.

Joint-secretary of the Ministry of Federal Affairs, Constituent Assembly, Parliamentary Affairs and Culture, Bishnu Karki identified the growing migration from rural and urban areas  as well as globalization with its increased cross-cultural contact as the main challenges to the protect Nepal’s cultures and traditions.  He said that the Government of Nepal will organize consultation meetings with -stakeholders and communities to gear-up support for the implementation of the Convention. 

Satya Mohan Joshi said that the workshop, the first of its kind in Nepal, has greatly contributed to make progress in the safeguarding of Nepal’s heritage.  He expressed his hope that all participants will continue to contribute to the safeguarding of the country’s intangible cultural heritage

“While listening this afternoon to the closing statements of the participants, I felt that this capacity building workshop was a success.  They all have made tremendous progress to better understand the Convention and its implication for Nepal”, said UNESCO Representative to Nepal Axel Plathe addressing the closing ceremony.

The workshop was the first among a series of training events over the next 18 months. The other workshops to follow are on community-based inventorying of intangible cultural heritage and elaborating nominations to the Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

The workshop is a part of the regional capacity building project “Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage through the Strengthening of National Capacities in Asia and the Pacific” funded by the Government of Japan within the framework of UNESCO’s global capacity-building strategy for the implementation of the 2003 Convention around the world.

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