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Fresh plan to preserve intangible heritages



Ministry of Culture‚ Tourism and Civil Aviation aims to constitute a body for the preservation of intangible cultural heritages

KATHMANDU: With Intangible Cultural Heritage Council (ICHC) going defunct, the government has again shown interest in preserving intangible cultural heritages with renewed efforts.

The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has prepared a draft and forwarded it to other ministries to start the work on preserving the living culture.

“We have prepared a draft to form a body under the Intangible Culture Heritage Council through a Cabinet decision,” said Jaya Ram Shrestha, under-secretary at the MoCTCA. “The draft has been forwarded to the Ministry of Parliament, Law and Justice, and the Ministry of Finance to seek suggestions,” he said, adding, “It will take about a week to get feedback from the ministries.”

According to the MoCTCA, the guideline includes standards and policies to maintain the intangible cultural heritage and their preservation as per UNESCO provisions.

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

“We will prepare an inventory and database of the heritages district-wise, domain-wise and community or group-wise by identifying the issues,” said Shrestha. “We will prepare a calendar and work accordingly,” he added. “We will also examine the past studies carried out on folklores in order to avoid duplication of work so that we can save time and money during the study.”

Intangible Cultural Heritage Council (ICHC), formed about two years ago to preserve intangible cultural heritages, has become defunct without delivering any output due to vagueness of defined roles. In the absence of the body, heritage preservation work has taken a backseat. Nepal is a signatory to the UNESCO Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritages. There are about 90 ethnic communities with about 120 languages and different living traditions. The nine-member ICHC, with culture minister as its chair, has culture expert Satya Mohan Joshi as its vice-chairman.

The main purposes of the convention, which UNESCO Member States adopted in 2003, are to safeguard intangible cultural heritages, to ensure respect for the same, to raise awareness on their importance and mutual appreciation, and to ensure international cooperation and assistance in those fields. Signing the convention binds 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, according to the MoCTCA.

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