Culture at the Centre of Sustainable Development in Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea is one of the most culturally diverse countries on Earth. Over 800 languages are spoken by a population of about 6 million. Papua New Guinea’s internationally renowned cultural diversity is under tremendous stress, as village-based life styles are being replaced by cash economy and urban life styles. Due to rapid social change, Intangible Culture Heritage safeguarding in Papa New Guinea is not just about documentation and recording. It is a matter of survival of local cultures.
Papua New Guinea ratified the Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention in 2008, making it the first Pacific Island State to become a party to the Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention. Since then, Papua New Guinea authorities have strengthened their efforts in safeguarding cultural heritage through new projects such as the cultural mapping programme and support to cultural festivals. This has revealed the need to strengthen the skills of cultural officers across the country.
The Intangible Cultural Heritage Implementation Workshop held by Papua New Guinea National Culture Commission (NCC) in Port Moresby in May 2012 brought together some forty officers from different provinces including the Autonomous Region of Bougainville and experts from cultural organizations such as Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies, National Film Institute, University of Papua New Guinea and National Research Institute.
The Workshop participants had a chance to discuss how they can better use international cooperation mechanisms of the Convention by taking into account local situations. New knowledge and skills obtained through the Workshop will be shared with other officers once they returned to their home provinces. The Workshop participants also recommended the establishment of inter-agency working committee to address issues and develop mid-term action plan for Intangible Cultural Heritage safeguarding.
The Workshop was funded under the UNESCO/Japanese Funds-in-Trust for Intangible Cultural Heritage Safeguarding in Asia and the Pacific. Mr Abe from the Embassy of Japan in Port Moresby attended the Workshop.