19.09.2016 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

Elaborating Safeguarding Plans for Intangible Cultural Heritage in Timor-Leste

Why is policymaking for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage (ICH) so important? What is the role of the communities, groups and cultural practitioners? What are the concrete and measurable activities to safeguard intangible cultural heritage? These are some of the questions covered by the “Workshop on Developing Safeguarding Plans for Intangible Cultural Heritage,” which was organised by the UNESCO Office in Jakarta in cooperation with the State Secretariat of Arts and Culture of the Ministry of Tourism of Timor-Leste from 6 – 9 September 2016 in Dili, Timor-Leste.

This workshop gathered more than sixty participants, representing central and district government officials, academics, cultural practitioners, youths, and NGOs. It is the 7th in a series of capacity building workshops that were held in Timor-Leste as a means to promote the ratification and implementation of the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. It is expected that this workshop will contribute to improving policies and strategies aimed towards safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in relevant policy areas (culture, education, environment, peace, etc.) within Timor-Leste. With regards to ratification, it should be noted the National Parliament supported the ratification of the 2003 UNESCO Convention in their meeting in June 2015. 

To date, 170 parties have ratified the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Intangible cultural heritage includes traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, 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. Within the 2003 UNESCO Convention, communities, groups and individuals are promoted as the primary actors in drafting and executing any safeguarding activity that concerns their ICH. These parties should also understand how to prepare coherent and high-quality safeguarding plans within complex settings, taking into account different types of interests.




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