UNESCO joined the online workshop on the multi-national nomination of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Southeast Asia from 26 to 29 July 2021

An online workshop on the multi-national nomination of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) targeting Southeast Asian countries was held between the 26th and 29th of July 2021. It was organized by the International Training Center for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region under the auspices of UNESCO (CRIHAP) in collaboration with UNESCO offices in Jakarta, Bangkok, Hanoi and Phnom Penh.

The objective of the four-day capacity-building workshop was to provide a platform for government officials, experts and members of concerned NGOs in the coordination of Intangible Cultural Heritage nomination process and to enhance their understanding of the specific requirements and procedures for multi-national nominations. Participants were provided with a unique opportunity to exchange on the rich and diverse ICH of Southeast Asia and to strengthen cooperation mechanism with neighboring countries.

Attended by 43 participants from 11 Southeast Asian countries (Timor Leste, Lao, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Brunei and Myanmar) and facilitated by Dr. Paritta Chaletmpow Koanantakool, UNESCO intangible cultural heritage facilitator and Ms. Suzanne Ogge, social anthropologist, the workshop included presentations from regional experts to explore ideas on potential multi-nomination files though group exercise, which identified key opportunities and challenges by the participating State Parties.

Government officials from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts in Cambodia shared their insights on the multinational nomination of Tugging Rituals and Games, together with the Philippines, Republic of Korea and Vietnam, inscribed on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2015. H.E. Sophearith Siyonn, Director General of the Directorate General of Techniques for Cultural Affairs of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts explained that “Multinational nominations are not an easy task, which requires a firm commitment from all parties. There is a general sense of national pride for nominating an element on the ICH List. We need to change our mindset to make everyone unite and understand that this is the heritage of humanity. This is the core spirit of the 2003 ICH Convention.”

The mechanism for multi-national nomination of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of ICH recognizes the trans-border nature of living heritage thus promoting dialogue and mutual understanding between countries. ICH Inter-governmental Committee encourages State Parties to the 2003 Convention to consider multi-national nomination whenever a similar element is found in more than two countries, thereby making the listing process an opportunity for international collaboration rather than nationalistic promotion.

As a result of the four-day workshop, participants gained a better understanding of the requirements of multi-national nomination. They also developed networks with their peers for future joint nominations. Mr. Liang Bin, Director-General of CRIHAP underlined in his closing remarks that “nominations and inscriptions on the ICH List are not the end of the process but only the very beginning – a means to raise awareness about the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage”.


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