29.11.2018 - UNESCO Office in Apia

Pacific States Parties attended the Intangible Cultural Heritage Intergovernmental Committee Meeting held in Mauritius

The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) met from 26 November to 1 December in Port Louis, Mauritius. The Committee composed of 24 States Parties to the ICH Convention ensures the implementation of this legal instrument, ratified by 178 States to date. The Committee examined ICH in situations of emergency, and follow up on elements already inscribed on the ICH lists as well as the use of resources of the ICH Fund. The Committee also inscribed seven elements on the List of ICH in Need of Urgent Safeguarding and forty elements on the Representative List of the ICH of Humanity.

Among hundreds of participants were the delegates from seven States Parties in the Pacific, namely, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu.

Mr Steven Paukari at the Culture Department of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Solomon Islands, said “I have found the Meeting informative and important. Observing the Meeting, I understood the importance of the two criteria of community consent and the urgency of safeguarding actions. Now we are understanding the system and procedures. So we can work hand in hand.” 

Thanking UNESCO for the opportunity given, Mr Taitusi Arhelger at the Department of Heritage and Arts of the Ministry of Education of Fiji stated: "The 13th session of the Committee provided insights into the processes involved in ICH nominations and the procedures that states parties need to follow in order to have an element inscribed. It also gave the Fiji delegation insights into the work that is carried out by the ICH Committee." 

"The main priority for the Republic of Fiji Islands are to have our national ICH mechanisms in order. We will then proceed working on a nomination. I have noted during this Session of the difficulty for some countries in fulfilling certain criteria. I would like to request UNESCO Pacific Office to continue to assist us in enhancing our capacities in this regard.", continued Mr Arhelger.

 “We learned a lot, and we need to boost our capacity for ICH safeguarding to nominate one from Tuvalu in the future.  I would like to request UNESCO and partners to support Tuvalu.” said Mr Matini Vailopa at the Culture Department of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Rural Development of Tuvalu.

The Pacific has a wealth of ICH or living heritage. Over the years, the Pacific countries have actively engaged in the ICH safeguarding for community well-being and sustainable development.  Thirteen Pacific island states are parties to the ICH Convention to date. Their participation in the Committee Meeting provided the timely opportunity for the Pacific countries which are shifting its focus from the promotion of the Convention to the implementation of this legal instrument.

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