07.05.2019 - UNESCO Office in Nairobi

Djibouti leads an extensive national consultation to develop its first National Culture Policy and a pilot inventory of its intangible cultural heritage

A cultural performance in the region of Ali Sabieh in Djibouti

After national consultations held in its capital in June 2018 and January 2019, the Ministry of Muslim Affairs, Culture and Waqfs Assets of Djibouti undertook a cultural tour of various regions of the country to consult local communities as part of the process of developing the first National Cultural Policy and the country's first inventory of intangible cultural heritage.

On 15 April 15 2019, the Djibouti Minister of Muslim Affairs, Culture and Waqfs Assets, Hon. Mr. Moumin Hassan Barreh travelled to Ali Sabieh to invite the local population to participate in the process of developing the National Culture Policy. Over a hundred participants gathered in the Regional Council of Ali Sabieh for the consultation, including youth, women, cultural operators, arts and craftspeople, poets, elders, holders of oral traditions, civil society and other cultural stakeholders, to provide their views on what should be included in the country’s first culture policy.

During the community consultation, the Director of Culture, Mr. Doualeh Hassan Ahmed, called on participants to share their insights and advice in relation to the promotion and protection of their rich tangible and intangible cultural heritage. He also assured them that their recommendations would be taken into account in the finalization of the national cultural policy.

The local communities of Ali Sabieh were also mobilized to learn about the UNESCO Convention for the Protection and Promotion of Cultural Diversity, which Djibouti ratified in 2006 as well as to the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, which was ratified by Djibouti in 2007. They were also invited to participate in an inventory of the intangible cultural heritage of the country.

"When we talk about intangible cultural heritage, we talk about traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festive events, knowledge about nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills needed for traditional crafts," said Idriss Moussa Ahmed, the UNESCO national expert on intangible cultural heritage.

Mr. Ahmed called on the community members to participate in the identification of the different elements of their intangible cultural heritage that are part of their identity within the community.

In his closing address, Minister Barreh thanked the Head of State, His Excellency Mr. Ismail Omar Guelleh, for his invaluable and ongoing support for the culture sector in Djibouti. He applauded the forthcoming completion of the projects for the creation of a National Library and National Archive, which are a source of national pride. He also highlighted the need for international support to transform the former railway station of Djibouti into the first National Museum of Djibouti.

"The development of cultural tourism through the enhancement of our cultural heritage will generate income and job creation," said Minister Barreh. The Minister pointed out ways of promoting cultural heritage to revive Djiboutian artists and cultural actors using the new channels of production and cultural diffusion. He emphasized the importance of the active and inclusive participation of all Djiboutian communities in this process.

In the coming months, the Ministry team aims to continue community consultations in order to finalize the National Culture Policy and organize its presentation during a public ceremony on 12 June 2019 in Djibouti. In parallel, another team led by Mr. Idriss Moussa Ahmed will continue to consult local communities to develop a first inventory of the intangible cultural heritage of the country for its safeguarding.

 

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Intangible Cultural Heritage

Investing in Creativity




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