Project launch: safeguarding living heritage in Suriname and the Dutch Caribbean islands

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Community representatives, non-governmental and governmental experts in Suriname and the Dutch Caribbean (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten) are joining efforts to develop and implement a strategy for the safeguarding of their living heritage.

As a significant step in the safeguarding process, a meeting was held in 2013 in Aruba which assessed the needs in the Dutch Caribbean islands for implementation of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, laying the foundation for this two-year project and an integrated strategy to strengthen the necessary safeguarding frameworks on the six islands and Suriname.

Following recent and ongoing consultations, the project will be officially launched at the first joint training in Phillipsburg, Sint Maarten from 8 to 12 September 2014, bringing together representatives from across the six islands for training on the implementation of the Convention. This will be followed by a second joint training to be held in Curacao in March 2015, covering the processes and framework for community-based inventorying of intangible heritage and subsequent inventory field exercises to be conducted on the six islands. A national training on ratification and implementation of the Convention is also being organized to address the specific needs of Suriname.

As a part of UNESCO’s global capacity-building strategy and thanks to the contribution from the Government of the Netherlands to the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund, this project is being implemented by the UNESCO Kingston Cluster Office for the Caribbean with the support of National Commissions for UNESCO in the various countries, as well as national and local stakeholders.

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