19.06.2018 - UNESCO Office in Nairobi

Djibouti mobilizes national stakeholders to safeguard its intangible cultural heritage

Participants in the national workshop on safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in Djibouti, 18 June 2018 ©Djibouti Direction of Culture/Abdallah Soultan Dileita

The expressions, representations, practices, knowledge and skills of the Arab, Afar, and Somali communities of Djibouti are the focus of a four day workshop on intangible cultural heritage, currently underway at the People’s Palace in Djibouti.

From 18 to 21 June 2018, the Republic of Djibouti Minister of Muslim Affairs, Culture and Waqf assets, with support from the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa, convened 40 national and local authorities, experts, NGOs, community and media representatives to participate in a national workshop on implementation of the UNESCO 2003 Convention for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage in Djibouti.

His excellency, Mr. Moumin Hassan Barreh, Minister of Muslim Affairs, Culture and Waqf assets, opened the workshop alongside fellow Ministers responsible for Education and for Communication. In his opening remarks, Minister Barreh emphasized the engagement of the President of the Republic of Djibouti in promoting culture as a national priority for strengthening national identity and safeguarding heritage. The Minister of Education, who is also the Secretary General of the Djibouti National Commission for UNESCO, noted the importance of this workshop in empowering participants to identify and safeguard the intangible cultural heritage of Djibouti.

UNESCO engaged the national expert, Mr. Monsieur Idriss Ahmed, and an international expert in the 2003 Convention, Mr. Mohamed Beidjeu, to lead the workshop. The programme included a general introduction to UNESCO and its six Conventions in the field of culture ranging from World Heritage to intangible cultural heritage to the cultural and creative industries. The domaines of intangible cultural heritage, which range from expressions, representations, practices, knowledge and skills, were presented in detail as well as the importance of their relation with associated instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces. The requirement for communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals, to recognize these elements as part of their cultural heritage was underscored as the basis for identifying intangible cultural heritage. Participants were also presented with the importance of promoting the transmission of intangible cultural heritage from generation to generation in order to ensure its safeguarding.

Following the workshop, Djibouti plans to submit a request for International Assistance to the Fund of the UNESCO 2003 Convention for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage in order to begin the work of inventorying and in order to develop a national legislation and policy for the protection of Djibouti’s intangible cultural heritage. The Minister responsible for Culture has also committed to creating a national committee to oversee the implementation of the 2003 Convention, which was ratified by Djibouti in 2007.

This national workshop followed the General Assembly of the States Parties to the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, which was held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris from 3-6 June 2018, and at which the State Party of Djibouti was elected as a new member of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

For more information on the UNESCO 2003 Convention for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage, please see: https://ich.unesco.org

Workshop Recommendations (Available in French only)

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