Representatives from 10 South Pacific countries gathered in Auckland in May for a capacity building workshop on intangible cultural heritage.
Organised by the International Training Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (CRIHAP) under the auspices of UNESCO Apia Office and supported by the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO, the workshop was based on the ratification and implementation of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
A UNESCO treaty, the 2003 Convention is aimed at safeguarding the uses, representations, expressions, knowledge and techniques that communities and groups (and in some cases individuals) recognise as an integral part of their cultural heritage. This intangible heritage can be found in forms such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, and traditional craftsmanship knowledge and techniques.
Recognised as an important factor in maintaining cultural diversity in the face of growing globalisation, an understanding of the intangible cultural heritage of different communities helps with intercultural dialogue, and encourages mutual respect for other ways of life.
Representatives from Fiji, Cook Islands, Palau, Samoa, Tuvalu, Australia, Tonga, Kiribati, New Zealand and the Solomon Islands attended the workshop, including Ms Nisha, Director of Office and UNESCO Representative to the Pacific States.