UNESCO shares at the monthly workshop of Cambodian Living Arts (CLAs) knowledge and experience in the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage

In order to build the capacities of staff of the Cambodian Living Arts (CLA), UNESCO was invited to a monthly meeting. The objecitive of this meeting is to share knowledge and experience with the CLA team by inviting experts and professionals operating in the cultural field in Cambodia.

On the 13th of July 2021, Mr. Makara Hong, National Professional Officer working at the UNESCO Phnom Penh office, was invited to present and introduce the basic concepts of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) to 15 Cambodian Living Arts staff members.

Ms. Phina SO, Knowledge, Networks and Policy Program Manager at Cambodian Living Arts, who initiated this monthly discussion with cultural professionals explained: “It is always useful to get a hands-on presentation and to raise questions about the issues surrounding intangible cultural heritage. There is information online on the 2003 Convention but it is always better to learn from a UNESCO staff .” 

The presentation explained how to implement the 2003 ICH Convention in Cambodia, while introducing a bacis principle of the ICH Convention such as the five domains, the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding and the Representative List.

It also demonstrated a role-plaing on how civil society, cultural NGOs, and ICH communities can be engaged in the safeguarding of ICH, while showcasing examples of international collaboration and assistance frameworks.

After the presentation, Mr. Phary Phacdey, Development Coordinator shared his impressions on the discussion with UNESCO: “It is truly important to understand the 2003 Convention and the diversity of intangible cultural heritage, the different beliefs, communities and practices. To understand the 2003 Convention, it is an important way for people to safeguard the intangible heritage with an open mindset, rather than just a conservative conception”.

“I got to understand the goal of the 2003 Convention which focuses on the protection of all intangible cultural heritage in Cambodia. I also know the responsibility that each state party has to implement and raise awareness about the convention. I think that there should be more actions taken to increase and expand the knowledge about the convention so that people are aware of the intangible cultural heritage in their community”, stated Ms. SOTH Chandaly, Arts Development Program Coordinator.

UNESCO will continue to provide technial assistance to Cambodian Living Arts and public and private institutions in the implementation of the UNESCO Cultural Conventions in Cambodia.

About Cambodian Living Arts:

Cambodian Living Arts (CLA) was founded in 1998 by genocide survivor and musician Arn CHORN-POND. For a decade, CLA focused on endangered performing art forms and rituals. As 90% of Cambodia’s artists did not survive the Khmer Rouge regime, Cambodia’s artistic heritage was in danger of being lost forever. Over the last 20 years, both Cambodia and the arts scene have developed rapidly and CLA has evolved its work to match.  CLA has focused on helping talented people to build and develop careers in the arts, through scholarships, fellowships, and support to troupes and individuals.

In addition, awaded by IFCD in 2020 for “Strengthening civil society engagement in policy advocacy and development in Cambodia”, CLA promotes creativity and innovation in the arts sector, and to build links with the neighbors in the Greater Mekong region and in Asia. Provided by a financial assistance funded by the Chengdu Culture and Tourism Foundation in China through UNESCO and partnership with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, CLA is also currently working to promote integratoin of ICH into education system in schools.