05 May, 2011

Training Workshop on Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage

Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: To safeguard the versatile Intangible Cultural Heritage of Pakistan, there is a need of cultural inventory, which simply means a process of documenting region’s heritage items in order to preserve the endangering the pluralistic features of society. This point of concern was raised by the cultural experts at a four-day (2-5 May) training workshop organized by UNESCO Islamabad and held at Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA), Islamabad.

The workshop was aimed to guide the nominated staff of two major government institutions, PNCA (a body of Ministry of Culture of Pakistan) and Lok Virsa (National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage) to properly implement the 2003 convention of UNESCO for safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH).

Ms. Kozue Kay Nagata, Country Director UNESCO emphasized to link culture with economic development, as “Pakistan has very rich cultural heritage, hence it is very important to safeguard both the tangible and intangible cultural heritage.”
Tauqeer Nasir, Dir. Gen. PNCA hoped that training of the PNCA and Lok Virsa staff on safeguarding ICH will prove to be fruitful.

The cultural workshop mainly focused on understanding the 2003 convention, data collection and inventorying and use of Geographic Information System in mapping of ICH.
It is important to note that Pakistan was amongst the first 30 states which ratified the 2003 Convention. But the implementation has been delayed. “So far there is no committee or fixed body to protect ICH in Pakistan” pointed out Prof. Sajida Haider Vandal, an architect attending the workshop.
ICH is simply defined as “the living heritage that lives in the minds and bodies of the human beings, not in archives, museums and monuments.”
Speaking at the workshop, Farhat Gul, National Programme Officer of UNESCO enlightened that the primary goals of the convention are “to safeguard ICH, ensure respect for ICH of all communities and to raise awareness at local, national and international level.” Pakistan being a signatory to the convention 2003, is committed to adhere its directive to formulate concrete plans for safeguarding ICH at state level.
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