ICH safeguarding in Kiribati
A Workshop on ICH Safeguarding was held in Tarawa from 7 to 9 February 2011. The Workshop was opened by Hon. Kouraiti Beniato, Minister of Internal and Social Affairs (MISA) and attended by some 30 participants including "Elders" (Unimane) from 17 islands of Kiribati (Makin, Butaritari, Marakei, Abaiang, Tarawa, Maiana, Kuria, Aranuka, Abemama, Nonouti, Tabnorth, Tabsouth, Onotoa, beru, Nikkunau, Tamara, and Arorae). The "Elders" (Unimane) have been responsible for overseeing matters relating to the community life in different islands. Their authorities stil prevail, complementing the contemporary governance system of Kiribati. The Workshop presented an important opportunity for them to get familiar with key aspects of ICH safeguarding and to discuss the relation between ICH and the welfare of the community life.
The presentations on different ICH elements (traditional meeting house, traditional medicine and health care system, peforming arts and crafts, martial arts, traditional navigation systems, etc) made at the Workshop were the reflection of the wealth of ICH in Kiribati. The "Elders" exchanged their views on how to enhance ICH safeguarding in Kiribati for sustainable development. The discussions were held on emerging issues such as the impact of climate change, tourism, the balance between communal ownership and individual rights as they relate to ICH and traditional knowledge, and so forth.
The Workshop discussed a Five-year Strategy and Action Plan on ICH Safeguarding in Kiribati. The Elders also signed a document recommending the ratification by Kiribati of the UNESCO ICH Convention.