17.02.2012 - UNESCO Office in Kathmandu

UNESCO supports Nepal safeguarding its living heritage

©Nepali Folklore Society/Tulasi Diwasa -Tharus performing jumra dance

Nepal is among the eight countries in Asia and the Pacific to participate in UNESCO’s global capacity-building initiative for the implementation of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which Nepal has signed in 2010. The programme is funded by Japan.

The support comes as Nepal recently adopted a national culture policy, which strongly focuses on its rich and diverse living heritage and on the need to adopt concrete measures to safeguarding in this regard. In addition, awareness of the interdependence between living heritage and sustainable development is increasing, but appropriate policies, capacities and institutional mechanisms must be in place to ensure its safeguarding.

UNESCO’s support mainly focuses on building up national capacity in meeting Nepal’s obligation as state party to the Convention.  UNESCO experts will closely work with the national stakeholders building capacities to implement the Convention at the national level, community-based inventorying of intangible cultural heritage; and elaborating nominations to the Intangible Heritage Lists.

Other countries in the region participating in the UNESCO/Japanese funds-in-trust project are Bhutan, Cambodia, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Sri Lanka and Timor Leste.

Heritage is not only tangible , but includes traditions or living expressions such as oral traditions,performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.

While fragile, intangible cultural heritage is an important factor in maintaining cultural diversity in the face of growing globalization. An understanding of the intangible cultural heritage of different communities helps with intercultural dialogue, and encourages mutual respect for other ways of life.

The importance of intangible cultural heritage is not the cultural manifestation itself but rather the wealth of knowledge and skills that is transmitted through it from one generation to the next. The social and economic value of this transmission of knowledge is relevant for minority groups and for mainstream social groups within a State, and is as important for developing States as for developed ones.

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