Comoros launches activities to safeguard intangible cultural heritage

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The UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa organized a national awareness-raising workshop on intangible cultural heritage on 25 - 29 June 2018 in Moroni, the Comoros, in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Professional Integration, Arts and Culture.

This marks the start of the activities of the 18-month project ‘Strengthening capacities in the Comoros for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage for sustainable development’ , generously supported by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Cultural Authority (ADTCA) of the United Arab Emirates.

Approximately 30 participants including national authorities for culture, representatives from the University of Comoros, the CNDRS (National Center for Documentation and Scientific Research), the Comoros Collective, national experts, communities, civil society, and other stakeholders were invited to participate in the workshop. In his opening remarks, Mr. Mahamoud Salim Hafi, the Minister of Youth, Sports, Professional Integration, Arts and Culture, stressed that “communities are the guardians of sanctuaries for our cultural values and traditions. They remain the main actors to identify, document, promote, conserve and transmit intangible cultural heritage to future generations”.

The workshop focused on the country’s effective implementation of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. It provided an overview of the key concepts of the Convention and the basic safeguarding measures such as inventorying as well as the various mechanisms for international cooperation. Participants were also asked to reflect collectively on experiences and challenges in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage within the broader context of sustainable development.

In 2015, UNESCO undertook a needs assessment for the implementation of the 2003 Convention in the Comoros. The results of the assessment formed the basis for this project funded by ADTCA, which aims at: i) strengthening legislative and institutional frameworks for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage at the national level; ii) developing capacities of the main institutions in charge of cultural heritage in the Comoros; and iii) conducting inventories for better documentation and safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage.

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