03.11.2016 - UNESCO Montevideo Office

Twenty-one new incorporations to the Regional Register of the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme

Roman Piña Chan Archive: Mesoamerican cultural tradition and the intellectual legacy of the archaeologist through his manuscripts and photographs

As a result of its seventeenth Annual Meeting, the Regional Committee for Latin America of the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme (MOWLAC) incorporated 21 new proposals to its Regional Register from 11 countries (*).

The meeting was held from the 24th to the 26th October 2016, under the auspices of the University of Mar del Plata. During the encounter, specialists from the different countries that form part of the MOWLAC Regional Committee evaluated 27 proposals from 12 countries.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, the Memory of the World Programme Regional Register has grown from seven inscriptions in 2002 to 146 in 2016. For Guilherme Canela, Secretary of the Regional Committee of the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme “The 2016 Committee meeting was pleased to receive a plural set of nominations with regards to the themes and formats of the collections presented. Documents in stone and paper have been included into the register as well as audio, photography, digital, accounts, among others. Latin America and the Caribbean’s cultural, linguistics, politics and human rights history also form part of this register. As part of this years celebration the recognition of the 250 years since the first access to public information law was highlighted. Access to public information constitutes a framework for the collective memory of the region, was highlighted."

The treaty to abolish the Costa Rican army in 1949 is an outstanding incorporation to the register fas represents an importannt message for regional peace building. It reminds us that it is possible to live in an unarmed democracy. The treaty for the proscription of nuclear weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco, February 14, 1967) established the first nuclear-weapon-free zone in a densely populated area of ​​the planet. Still today, it is an example for the establishment of five more nuclear-free zones. Its signing preceded the adoption of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

The Meeting of the Junta Militar in Argentina and the files of the Commission for Truth and Reconciliation testifying to the violence that occurred in Peru between 1980 and 2000, were both accepted in this year’s MOWLAC register as well as the National Mining Corporation of Bolivia historical records that documented the migration of Jews and Israelis to Latin America during World War II, led by Mauricio Hochschild.

The proposal of the Jamaican Map (presented by the National Library), which was also included in the MOWLAC regional register represents territorial judicial and administrative issues as well as economic and social development of the region. Cultural events through linguistic expression, art, among others, also became part of the regional list such as the first edition of the Canto General de Pablo Neruda presented by the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and Autonomous University of Puebla, among other Mexican institutions, published in 1950.

This year the committee received two new proposal in formats never received before, the "60-year history of the Maya city of Quiriguá" written in stone (Ministry of Culture of Guatemala), and the khipu database, a document in digital format presented by the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University.

For UNESCO, (as expressed by its General Conference of Member States in recommendation adopted on November 4, 2015) the documentary heritage, in all its forms through time and space, is a primary means of knowledge creation and expression societies and has implications in all areas of human civilization and its future evolution. It records the development of thought and human events, the evolution of languages, cultures, peoples. It also records peoples understanding of the world, thus highlighting its importance to promote the exchange of knowledge for greater understanding and dialogue, and to boost peace and respect for freedom, democracy, human rights and dignity. Preservation and accessibility of documentary heritage underpin freedom of opinion, expression and information as fundamental human rights.

In this context, the Memory of the World Programme has set three main objectives: to support the preservation of documentary heritage; to provide universal access to it; and to create greater awareness worldwide of its existence and importance. Their contributions represent a direct contribution to Sustainable Development Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, facilitate access to justice for all, and create effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Annually, the Regional Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Memory of the World Programme of UNESCO (MOWLAC) gives the opportunity to institutions of Latin America and the Caribbean countries to submit their proposal for entry in its register and advance in the realization of the three aforementioned objectives.

Access to public information on the UNESCO Memory of the World Program


Next Call: March 2017

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