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Call to preserve cultures‚ traditions

  Intangible heritages can boost tourism: Government

HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has urged all communities to promote tourism by preserving their cultural heritages and traditions, stressing that tourism can be a means to ensure livelihood.

“We want communities across the country to take initiatives for the preservation of their cultural heritages for tourism promotion,” said under-secretary Jaya Ram Shrestha, chief of the Culture and Heritage Section at the (MoCTCA). “We are ready to cooperate with communities for the preservation of their culture and help them use the same for their livelihood,” he said.

There are 125 groups and ethnic communities with some 120 languages across the country, according to the ministry. They have their unique traditions and cultures. “We are trying to help these communities preserve their cultures and enhance their lifestyles by cashing in on their valuable heritages,” said Shrestha. “However, they have not shown much interest towards this,” he said. More than 300 national and international non-government organisations have been working in the field of culture and heritage in Nepal. However, they have failed to encourage local communities to take initiatives for the preservation of their cultures.

“We urge these organisations to be community-based and encourage them to join hands with the government for the sake of people,” said Shrestha.

“The ministry has prepared a draft for forming a body under the Intangible Culture Heritage Council through a Cabinet decision. It has forwarded the draft to the Ministry of Parliament, Law and Justice, and the Ministry of Finance seeking their suggestions,” he said.

The government has already formulated a national cultural policy in line with UNESCO Convention in a bid to preserve and promote cultures of Nepal. According to the MoCTCA, the proposed guidelines include standards and policies on preservation of intangible cultural heritages in line with UNESCO provisions. In 2010, the Government of Nepal had ratified the UN Convention designed to safeguard intangible cultural heritages, such as folklore, oral traditions, social rituals and performing arts, according to the MoCTCA.

By ratifying the UN Convention, Nepal committed itself at the international level to safeguarding the rich and diverse living heritages of the country. Nepal is the 125th State Party to the UNESCO Convention for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003).

The main purposes of the convention, which UNESCO Member-States adopted in 2003, are to safeguard intangible cultural heritages and to ensure respect for the same, to raise awareness on its importance, and to provide international cooperation and assistance in those fields.

Signatory governments recognise that cultural heritages are not limited to material manifestations such as monuments and objects, but must be extended to traditions and living expressions inherited from ancestors. Signing the convention binds the governments to acknowledge their roles in international cooperation and responsibilities towards implementing the provisions of the convention through adoption of necessary legislative, regulatory and other appropriate measures, MoCTCA says.

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