Intangible Cultural Heritage Capacity Building Workshop in Sydney

A Workshop on the Ratification and Implementation of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) Convention was held from 2 – 6 November 2015 in Sydney, Australia. It was organized by the International Training Centre for ICH in the Asia-Pacific Region under the Auspices of UNESCO (CRIHAP), Category II Centre focusing on the ICH capacity building, based in Beijing.

The CRIHAP Workshop brought together delegates from 9 member states (Australia, Cook Islands, FSM, Fiji, Kiribati, NZ, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Tuvalu) in the Pacific region. The Workshop was also attended by several observers including a representative of Pacific Island Museum Association (PIMA), NGO accredited by the ICH Convention.

Country reports presented by the participating countries including both states parties and states-non-parties of the ICH Convention enhanced the effectiveness of information sharing and mutual learning process at the Workshop.  The participants learned the principles and international cooperation mechanisms of the ICH Convention as well as the benefits and implications of joining the ICH Convention.  The Convention’s emphasis on community participation and empowerment was highlighted.

Demonstration of Fujian puppetry performance inscribed on the ICH Best Safeguarding Practice Registry and a cultural excursion to some of the sites of the indigenous peoples in Sydney enabled the participants to reflect on and discuss several key issues related to the ICH safeguarding.  Some of the delegates from Small Island Developing States (SIDS) addressed the threats to ICH bearers and communities due to climate change, while other delegates raised the issue over the endangerment of indigenous languages.

Based on what was learned during the Workshop, the participants prepared an action plan for strengthening the ICH safeguarding in the coming years both at national and regional levels.