UNESCO: Intangible Cultural Heritage Crucial To Sustainable Development

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UNESCO on Thursday said that incorporating Intangible Cultural Heritage into economic, development planning and programming was crucial to accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.

Mr Ydo Yao, Director, UNESCO regional office Abuja said this at the final stakeholders meeting on the implementation of the 2003 Convention on ICH in the country in collaboration with the Federal government.

UNESCO in 2003 during her general conference passed the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The convention was aimed at safeguarding the uses, representations, expressions, knowledge and techniques that communities, groups, individuals, recognise as an integral part of their cultural heritage.

Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture officially launched the convention in 2015 with the title `Support to the Effective Implementation of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage’.

The project was funded by the Japanese government.

Represented by Mr Saidou Jallow, Senior Programme Specialist Education, Yao said that the role of culture in economic development validated its inclusion for the first time in 2030 development agenda.

“Incorporating ICH into economic, development planning and programming is crucial to accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals, because it plays important roles as driver and enabler of sustainable development.

“This underscores the inclusion of culture for the first time in the 2030 development agenda.

“It is worth noting that the promotion of intangible and tangible cultural heritage, the cultural and creative industries, conservation, promotion of cultural and natural heritage are powerful.

“They are powerful economic sub sectors that generate employment for youth and women, stimulate local, national and international development,” Yao said.

According to him, the project aimed at assisting benefiting countries meet their national obligations under the 2003 convention with regards to policy, legal frame work, among other objectives.

He said that the organisation would want the sustainability of the convention, hence the training of 15 ministry staff that had been equipped with the skills to elaborate file for nominations of heritage elements at the international level.

Yao, however, said that Nigeria was endowed with many cultural heritage sourced from its multicultural communities, adding that there was a huge repository of intangible cultural heritage to work with.

He reiterated that UNESCO alongside partners was committed to achieving the 2003 convention to increase recognition of communities and sustainability of diverse cultural heritage.

Mr Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, said that ICH provided the platform for socio-economic empowerment.

Represented by Mrs Grace Gekpe, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mohammed said that the project would be replicated and sustained effectively.

“In the present administration’s quest for economic diversification, the ICH provides a veritable platform for socio economic empowerment through the non oil sector.

“We are committed to its sustenance and replication of this pilot project to its optimal utilisation for the sustainable development of Nigeria,” Mohammed said.

Mr Sadanobu Kusaoke, Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria commended Nigeria for working hard within two years to implement the 2003 convention.

Kusaoke said that Nigeria was the most populous country in Africa with diverse cultural heritage, adding that there was need for preservation.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the pilot intervention programme was carried out in three communities of Niger State, Cross River and Oyo States respectively.

Highlights of the programme include cultural display from the three communities. (NAN)