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The eighth session of the Governing Board of CRIHAP held in Beijing

Source: CRIHAP

The eighth session of the Governing Board of CRIHAP was held in Beijing on March 26, 2019.

Mr. Zhang Xu, Chairperson of the Governing Board, Member of the Leadership and Vice Minister of China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, chaired the session. More than 60 participants attended, including members of the Governing Board and the CRIHAP Advisory Committee. Also attending were representatives from China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the China National Commission for UNESCO, the UNESCO Office in Beijing, the International Research Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region under the auspices of UNESCO (IRCI), and the International Information and Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (ICHCAP).

The session examined and approved the centre’s Work Report and Financial Statement for FY2018 and its Work Plan and Budget for FY2019, as well as the Three-Year Development Plan for 2019-2021.

In 2018, CRIHAP organized eight capacity-building training workshops in Kyrgyzstan, Vanuatu, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Korea, China, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The centre, in cooperation with UNESCO headquarters, organized Training of Trainers Workshops for the Intangible Cultural Heritage Facilitators in the Asia-Pacific region and expanded the UNESCO network of ICH Facilitators in the region. CRIHAP held a Workshop on the Nomination of ICH under the Convention in Pakistan, thus accomplishing all the workshops required, according to the Three-year Memorandum signed with the Pakistani government. This lays a solid foundation for ICH capacity building in Pakistan. Focusing on the important role of youth in safeguarding ICH, CRIHAP organized the Workshop on Capacity Building for Active Youth of the Kyrgyz Republic on Safeguarding ICH. In view of the frequent occurrence of natural disasters in Vanuatu, CRIHAP held a course in incorporating ICH safeguarding into assessment of post-disaster needs and for Vanuatu, and guided participants to explore the important role of ICH in disaster prevention, disaster reduction and post-disaster recovery around natural disasters, such as a volcanic eruption, hurricane and tsunami.

When Mr. Ernesto Ottone Ramirez, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture, visited CRIHAP in September last year, he highly praised the centre’s training on capacity building in the region and praised the centre for its outstanding contribution to ICH safeguarding in the Asia-Pacific region and the world.

To meet the growing needs of capacity-building of safeguarding ICH in Asia-Pacific countries, in 2019 CRIHAP will conduct more training workshops in more countries and regions. Distinctive ICH training activities will be carried out in nine countries, including Uzbekistan, Fiji, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. Among them, a Capacity Building Workshop on the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) Safeguarding Plan and International Assistance Requests (IARs) Development in the Pacific in Fiji is attracting much attention. The economic strength of Pacific small island countries is generally weak, thus the centre will organize training courses on the theme of “International Assistance” for these countries to guide them to enhance their capacity of ICH safeguarding by participating in international assistance. CRIHAP attaches great importance to the role of facilitators in the dissemination of the concept of ICH safeguarding, and will continue to provide a series of training of trainers in four Central Asian countries, Thailand, the Philippines, China and Mongolia. CRIHAP also will incorporate education, which is also the focus on the agenda of UNESCO, into its training plan. It plans to organize a Workshop on the “Linking 2003 Convention and University ICH programs”, in China for the universities in this region.

According to the Three-Year Development Plan for 2019-2021, CRIHAP will continue to play a role in enhancing the capacity of ICH safeguarding of communities, groups, individuals and countries in the Asia-Pacific region. While doing well in the regular training themes of “Implementation of the 2003 Convention, Inventorying of Intangible Cultural Heritage, Safeguarding Plan Development, and Nomination” under the framework of the Convention, CRIHAP, closely following up with the strategic deployment of UNESCO and in accordance with UNESCO priorities, integrates ICH and education, ICH and gender, ICH and youth, safeguarding ICH in the event of emergencies (such as disaster risks reduction, climatic changes, post-disaster recovery) in its training courses. At the same time, the centre also will design more targeted training workshops to meet the specific needs of different countries.

At present, CRIHAP is actively building databases of experts, trainees and facilitators, collecting and collating relevant information, participating in seminars at national, regional and international levels, grasping the dynamic information of safeguarding ICH in the Asia-Pacific region and at the global level, to further improve the training model and content. And it will support follow-up safeguarding ICH activities in target countries through training assessment and publication of training outcome documents.

After hearing the work report, the members of the Governing Board highly praised CRIHAP’s work. Mr. Zhang Xu said that over the past seven years, with the strong support of the Chinese government and UNESCO, CRIHAP has actively participated in the UNESCO strategy of capacity-building for the implementation of the Convention in the Asia-Pacific region. Its work has been unanimously recognized by UNESCO and countries in the region, and even in the world, making outstanding contributions for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage.

The members believe that CRIHAP effectively realized the cultural significance and social functions of ICH by combining ICH with other cultural and social fields, such as youth, disaster prevention and reduction, and post-disaster recovery. In view of the gap between the textbooks of ICH used by some universities and the spirit of the Convention, it is necessary to organize the training of the integration of the Convention and ICH projects in universities. Members also looked forward to integrating the content, like poverty alleviation, ethical principles of ICH, rescue and protection of endangered languages, and primary and secondary education of ICH in capacity-building training.

Since its establishment in 2012, CRIHAP has held 35 training workshops in 16 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, with 32 beneficiary countries, making positive contributions to the safeguarding of ICH in the region. In 2018, CRIHAP successfully completed the first six-year agreement between the Chinese government and UNESCO on the establishment of CRIHAP. In August, the agreement between the Chinese Government and UNESCO on the continuation of the establishment of CRIHAP came into force, and CRIHAP entered a new stage of development.

Mr. Zhang Xu expected CRIHAP to continue to provide necessary intellectual support and technical assistance for safeguarding ICH in various countries and make new contributions to ICH safeguarding in the Asia-Pacific region, in cooperation with UNESCO, its offices in the Asia-Pacific region and 48 Member States, as well as the Category 2 centres in Japan and Republic of Korea, in accordance with the spirit of the new agreement, the Convention and the requirements of the UNESCO capacity-building strategy.

Members also looked forward to the centre’s unremitting efforts in training trainers on ICH safeguarding, using the internet and publications to effectively disseminate ICH on the basis of continuing to maintain the regional balance among the countries, regions and subregions where the trainings were distributed.

After the session, some delegates visited Fengning Manchu autonomous county in North China’s Hebei province to carry out an investigation and research activities on ICH. The delegation inspected the Longteng Museum of Art Exhibition of Cloth Paste Painting, Cloth Paste Painting Workshop for Poverty Alleviation and Employment and Manchu Customs Exhibition of Fengning Manchu Museum. They also examined ICH campus activities in Fengning Second and Fourth Primary Schools, Manchu Paper-cut Poverty Alleviation Workshop of Wudaoying village and Fengning intangible cultural heritage base. They conducted in-depth exchanges with representatives of local government and communities.

(Original story provided by Shen Ce)

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