UNESCO partners with Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation to promote transformative heritage conservation in Asia-Pacific region

UNESCO and the Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation (NTFCF) have entered into a strategic partnership to promote practices of transformative heritage conservation in the Asia-Pacific region. Under this strategic partnership, the NTFCF will support five cycles (2021-2025) of the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation and an accompanying series of tailored capacity-building activities amplifying the impact of the Awards programme.

The NTFCF was established by the Ng family in 2010 in memory of the late founder of Sino Group, Mr Ng Teng Fong. The Foundation supports a wide range of societal initiatives spanning education, community, and arts and culture. The Ng family is committed to heritage conservation as demonstrated in their exemplary transformation of Tai O Heritage Hotel in Hong Kong SAR through their NGO, the Hong Kong Heritage Conservation Foundation. Tai O Heritage Hotel was recognised with an Award of Merit in the 2013 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation for exemplary engagement with the neighbourhood. Since opening in March 2012, the hotel has participated in over 100 traditional festivities and community service events, supported collecting oral histories of people related to Tai O, provided daily complimentary tours for the general public, and welcomed over 1.7 million visitors from Hong Kong SAR and overseas. The hotel further contributes to the sustainable development of the local economy through the use of local culinary ingredients and providing regional employment opportunities, with half of its workforce coming from Tai O or Lantau Island.

With a view to raising recognition for heritage conservation at the regional level, the Hong Kong Heritage Conservation Foundation supported the publication of the third volume in the UNESCO series, Asia Conserved: Lessons Learned from the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation in 2019.

‘We are honoured to have the opportunity to work with UNESCO through this multi-year partnership to present significant architecture and promote heritage conservation to a wider audience across the Asia-Pacific region. Buildings give the community character, and they tell our stories; through heritage conservation, we bridge the past with future, preserving precious collective memories for future generations.  It is integral to our culture, identity and long-term growth.  We look forward to contributing to the sustainable development of the community,’ remarks Mr Daryl Ng, SBS, JP, Director of NTFCF and Deputy Chairman of Sino Group.

With the new strategic partnership with the NTFCF, UNESCO will identify initiatives that exemplify the transformative contribution of cultural heritage to sustainable development, which is in keeping with the Sustainable Development Goals. UNESCO will promote an ever-widening diversity of cultural heritage conservation initiatives across the Asia-Pacific region by encouraging participation from currently under-represented countries.

An especially notable aspect of the strategic partnership is its engagement with youth in the region, primarily through activities that aim to raise awareness and foster appreciation of cultural heritage among young people. The youth engagement will be inspired by existing initiatives of the Hong Kong Heritage Conservation Foundation such as the ‘Hospitality Young Leaders Programme’, which provides opportunities to experience first-hand Hong Kong SAR’s first UNESCO-awarded heritage hotel and appreciate rich local history and traditions.

UNESCO will disseminate the standard-setting, exemplary heritage conservation practices derived from the Awards programme with a view towards enhancing the capacity of heritage practitioners across the region, especially young professionals. The Asian Academy for Heritage Management (AAHM), a regional consortium of universities offering heritage management programmes and its Secretariat at Southeast University, in Nanjing, China will play key roles in facilitating future knowledge exchange and development. The consortium was launched by UNESCO and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property in 2001.

Heritage Awards 2021 Call for ApplicationsApply to the 2021 UNESCO Awards: extended deadline 31 August 2021

Submissions are now being accepted for the 2021 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation with an extended deadline of 31 August 2021. The Awards recognize exemplary efforts by individuals and organizations in restoring or conserving existing structures, places and properties of heritage value in the region. Winning projects should demonstrate a thorough understanding of the site, sound technical achievement, and outstanding sustainability impact.

Eligible projects must have been completed within the last 10 years (March 2011 – August 2021 if pre-existing use was retained, or August 2020 if a project has a new use). Houses, commercial and institutional buildings, historic towns and villages, archaeological sites and cultural landscapes, for example, are all suitable for submission.

Winners will be announced in the following categories: Award of Excellence; Award of Distinction; Award of Merit; Award for New Design in Heritage Contexts; and Special Recognition for Sustainable Development. The Special Recognition for Sustainable Development and an updated set of Awards Criteria were introduced in 2020 to acknowledge more prominently the contribution of cultural heritage to sustainable development within the broader framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The deadline for receipt of materials online has been extended to 31 August 2021. Project dossiers to be posted to UNESCO Bangkok shall be postmarked no later than 31 August 2021.

To participate in the 2021 Awards programme, and for access to resources, please visit:
http://bangkok.unesco.org/content/apply-awards

For further details and information regarding previous winners, please visit:
http://bangkok.unesco.org/content/winning-projects

Learn more information about the Awards by visiting our website:
https://bangkok.unesco.org/theme/asia-pacific-heritage-awards

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