Protecting the Intangible Culture Heritage

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awg Haji Hazair (C); Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Awg Haji Mohd Rozan (L); and UNESCO Programme Specialist for Culture, Masanori Nagaoka

Bandar Seri Begawan, 11 April 2013 - THE Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) together with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) yesterday organised a forum briefing entitled ‘UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention’.

The forum brought together representatives from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports; Ministry of Home Affairs; Attorney General’s Chambers Office; along with district officials, local representatives, academics from Universiti Brunei Darussalam, local NGOs, as well as experts and policy makers in the field of culture, to discuss regarding the safeguarding and promoting of the country’s Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH). In addition to that, it also provided further information on UNESCO’s implementation strategy for the ICH Convention and efforts to strengthen internal networks amongst different levels of stakeholders.

According to a press release, over 70 individuals attended the forum, including the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awg Haji Hazair bin Haji Abdullah; and the Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Datin Paduka Hajah Adina binti Othman; as well as all four districts community representatives.

Divided into three sessions, the forum discussed topics including the ‘Introduction of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage’, ‘UNESCO’s Strategies for the Implementation of the 2003 Convention in Asia and Pacific’, and ‘Discussion with the National and Working Committee members on the UNESCO’s proposed project entitled ‘Strengthening Capacity Building for the Promotion and Implementation of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Brunei Darussalam’.’

Datin Paduka Hajah Adina, who was also the Chairperson of the National Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, in her opening speech, emphasised on the importance of safeguarding the ICH of Brunei and the country’s readiness to commit itself for the more proactive engagement in safeguarding ICH at both national and international levels.

The first and second sessions discussed collaboration in safeguarding ICH at both international and regional levels, in particular on its challenges in the Asia and Pacific region. Masanori Nagaoka, Head of Culture Unit of the UNESCO Office Jakarta, presented UNESCO’s strategies for the implementation of the 2003 Convention, while giving an overview of the various ICH safeguarding practices in Southeast Asia. Nagaoka also outlined UNESCO’s view on the importance of regional collaboration and network building among stakeholders.

The meeting then continued to an afternoon session which invited designated members of the Brunei national and working group to identify prioritised actions for the implementation of the convention at national level.

During the third session, the participants discussed a number of challenges faced in Brunei and the ways to tackle these issues to safeguard its significant ICH. Nagaoka underlined that UNESCO’s strategic emphasis on strengthening capacities of national counterparts to implement the convention, meet their obligations for safeguarding, and benefit from the opportunities and mechanisms of international cooperation created under the convention.

Nagaoka further introduced to the participants, UNESCO’s series of training workshops which included training materials with lesson plans, presentations, slide-shows, exercises and quizzes. The approach adopted in developing these materials is to emphasise on interactivity and active learning.

The Government of Brunei Darussalam is currently considering working closely with UNESCO in having these training workshops delivered in Brunei in order to consolidate the country’s capacity and update/revise the country’s mechanism to commit itself to the safeguarding of ICH.

Nagaoka was in Brunei from April 8-11.

-- Courtesy of The Borneo Bulletin --


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