NGOs from the wider Caribbean join Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention

From September 8 to 10 2020, the eighth session of the General Assembly of States Parties to the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage took place at UNESCO Headquarter in Paris.  The Caribbean region celebrated the accreditation of three (3) new non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Under the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003 Convention), NGOs can be recognized for their competence in the field of intangible cultural heritage (ICH), enabling them to act in an advisory capacity to the Committee of the Convention (Article 9). Such organizations are also recognized as important stakeholders for the implementation of the Convention and the safeguarding of intangible heritage.

The organizations that joined are:

  1. Fundashon Historiko Kultural Boneriano – Bonairean Historical Cultural Foundation (FUHIKUBO), Bonaire
  2. Fundashon Museo Tula – Foundation Museum Tula, Curaçao
  3. Organisatie voor Gemeenschapswerk – Cultural and Community Organization (NAKS), Suriname

The UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean celebrates this accreditation, particularly as these organizations participated in and benefited from the ICH Capacity-building project in Suriname and the Dutch speaking Caribbean (2014 – 2018), where these NGO’s were instrumental in training on community-based inventorying and its accompanying pilot exercise. This process also demonstrates the commitment of the communities, represented by these NGOs to the safeguarding of their living heritage.

The 3 new NGOs from Bonaire, Curaçao and Suriname are now added to a small yet growing list from the Caribbean, which also includes the previously accredited National Archaeological-Anthropological Memory Management Foundation (also in Curaçao) and the Centre des musiques et danses traditionnelles et populaires de Guadeloupe.

The accreditation of these new NGOs was held against the backdrop of continuing dialogue on the possible ways in which the participation of NGOs under the 2003 Convention could be further enhanced and how this would be reflected in the accreditation and renewal mechanisms of NGOs, while recognizing the unbalanced geographical representation of accredited NGOs and the need for initiatives to raise awareness about the accreditation system and build the capacities of NGOs from under-represented regions.

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