The Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism has ended a two-day workshop on safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in the country.
The workshop, which was held in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), looks at the cultural and economic benefits that come with the ratification of the 2003 UNESCO Convention on ICH.
Participants at the workshop were informed that the ICH is a mainspring of cultural diversity and a guarantee of sustainable development, and when passed it will provide resource that will protect the grave threats of deterioration, disappearance and destruction of ICH.
Speaking at the workshop, which ran from Nov. 15-16, UNESCO international Expert Julius Mwahunga explained that ICH transmitted from generation to generation, and in their interaction with nature and history, provides people with a sense of identity and continuity thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity.
Mr. Mwahunga added: “ICH means the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artifacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage.
“The convention looks at ICH as oral traditions and expressions, including language, and vehicles of the intangible cultural heritage, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festive events. Also, ICH concerned knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe and traditional craftsmanship.
“Safeguarding ICH means measures aimed at ensuring the viability of the intangible cultural heritage, including the identification, documentation, research, preservation, protection, promotion, enhancement, transmission, particularly through formal and non-formal education, as well as the revitalization of the various aspects of such heritage.
“When this agreement is ratified, the country stands to benefit from assistance to protect ICH for the safeguarding of the ICH in particular management and scientific research.
“Also, educational awareness will be centered on the dangers threatening such heritage, and of the activities that need to be carried out to promote protection of natural spaces and places of memory whose existence is necessary for expressing the intangible cultural heritage.”
He said when a country ratifies the convention measures like ensuring the viability of the ICH, including the identification, documentation, research, preservation, protection, through formal and non-formal education, as well as the revitalization of the various aspects of such heritage, will be prioritized.
In remarks earlier, Deputy Public Affairs Minister at MICAT Willington G. Smith noted that Liberia stands to benefit a lot if this agreement is ratified.
“Right now, we are having identity problems and the extinction of our major languages. It so unfortunate that our country seems to be missing out on the numerous benefits we stand to gain when this convention is ratified.
“We are not passing our culture to this new generation; therefore, culturally, this generation is under threat and if we cannot solve this problem we will be in a long identity crisis,” MIN. Smith added.