26.06.2018 -

Dutch Caribbean Islands and Suriname kick-start Phase III of their Intangible Cultural Heritage Capacity-building Project


Phase three of the multi-year (2014 - 2018) capacity-building project ‘Strengthening the Capacities of Suriname and the Dutch Caribbean Islands for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage,’ was officially launched in May 2018 with all beneficiary countries (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten and Suriname) from previous phases fully on-board. As with previous phases of this project, funding support was provided by a contribution of the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund.

This present phase of the project focuses on reinforcing the safeguarding capacities of these countries as it relates to addressing ICH in emergencies, particularly disasters caused by natural hazards. The year 2017 was a year in which the Caribbean sub-region was severely impacted by natural disasters in the form of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. In October 2017, the Executive Board of UNESCO adopted an Addendum to the Strategy concerning emergencies associated with disasters caused by natural and human-induced hazards. This action was further augmented by deliberations of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which recognized the dual nature of intangible cultural heritage in emergencies as ‘being under threat and as a powerful tool for resilience and recovery’. Beneficiary countries will therefore undertake an inventory of traditional knowledge and practices related to natural disasters in their specific territory.

A consultative meeting is also foreseen in order to facilitate a sharing of experiences and lessons from this multi-year project among territories, as well as to identify priorities for the future, to include the safeguarding of ICH in formal and non-formal education.

Since its inception, this project has been part of UNESCO’s global capacity-building strategy for the implementation of the 2003 Convention. Previous phases focused on capacity-building trainings on the Implementation of the Convention at the national level, community - based inventorying of ICH, developing safeguarding plans, and mechanisms for international cooperation under the Convention. Each territory was also tasked with undertaking field inventorying exercises of ICH within their territory.

This present phase will be implemented from May to October 2018 and will also facilitate an external evaluation of the project.



For additional information on this project, please contact the Culture Sector of the UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean at kingston@unesco.org

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