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UAE wins bid for membership of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Committee for Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage

UAE wins bid for membership of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Committee for Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage
11 June 2024 21:22

PARIS (WAM)

The UAE has been elected to serve on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's (UNESCO) Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage for the 2024–2028 term.

This prestigious appointment was confirmed during the 10th Session of the General Assembly of States Parties to the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, held on June 11-12.

H.H. Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, emphasised the importance of uniting efforts and knowledge exchange between countries and international organisations to enhance the preservation of cultural heritage worldwide.

H.H. praised the significant global efforts made by the UAE to preserve historical heritage, highlighting its role in supporting communities and raising awareness about the importance of intangible cultural heritage, which is an integral part of humanity’s history and shared legacy.

“The UAE has not only demonstrated a strong commitment to protecting, reviving, and sustaining its authentic heritage, but has also led global efforts to protect human heritage and foster intercultural dialogue. The nation is distinguished by its vast diversity in the field of intangible cultural heritage and has achieved significant successes by registering many elements of this heritage on the UNESCO list. Its selection for the second time as a member of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO is a testament to its exceptional efforts in preserving rich cultural heritage and fostering cultural and civilisational dialogue,” Her Highness said.

Sheikh Salem bin Khaled Al Qassimi, Minister of Culture, said: "The UAE has made significant strides in preserving both tangible and intangible cultural heritage. Efforts have been diligently undertaken by relevant cultural entities and institutions to support nations worldwide in addressing issues crucial for safeguarding this heritage, which is deemed a human treasure for societies. This recognition of membership is truly well deserved."

"Today, the UAE has achieved a leading position both regionally and globally through its substantial efforts in preserving heritage. With 15 elements of intangible cultural heritage already inscribed on UNESCO's Lists, we take pride in this accomplishment. We are committed to upholding this status, and working closely with cultural entities, fellow Member States, and international organisations in furthering our mission to safeguard and promote awareness on the significance of tangible and intangible cultural heritage around the world for generations to come.

Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak, said, “The selection of the United Arab Emirates as a member of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage reflects the contributing role of the UAE in achieving UNESCO’s goals: to preserve our common human heritage, progress sustainable development, promote world peace, and build bridges of communication and dialogue between different cultures."

"In Abu Dhabi we are blessed with an incredibly rich heritage that continues to resonate through our daily lives. It includes the seeds of our unique cultural identity and our shared values, shaping the way we collectively move forward, and ensuring our vision for the future is grounded in a respect for the past. Since the UAE’s accession to the 2003 Convention, the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, continues to support UNESCO’s essential plans and programmes to protect and promote global history and heritage. In cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, the Department has worked to highlight the comprehensiveness of this heritage and its distinctive characteristics across countries, through national and joint nomination files for inscription in UNESCO.”

Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of the UAE to UNESCO, Ali Alhaj Al Ali, added, “The UAE’s nomination to serve in the prestigious UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage is a testament to the international community’s trust in the UAE’s expertise and longstanding commitment towards the protection of intangible cultural heritage at the national, regional, and global levels.”

This marks the second time the UAE secures a seat on this influential Committee, reflecting its deep commitment and extensive expertise in the areas covered by the 2003 Convention.

The UAE's new role is a recognition of its significant contributions to supporting communities and heritage practitioners in preserving and transmitting historical legacies.

Notably, the UAE ranks first in the Arab region in the number of elements inscribed on UNESCO’s Lists of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Additionally, the UAE led the largest multinational file ever with the participation of 24 countries to inscribe Falconry on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Thanks to the efforts of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, Falconry was inscribed for the fourth time, following 11 years of continuous efforts by the UAE and nations around the world.

Over the next four years, the UAE will continue its cooperation with other Member States to advance the objectives of the 2003 Convention, provide guidance on best practices, and offer recommendations for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage.

The UAE has signed an agreement with the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (ALECSO) to support Arab countries in Africa to submit joint files for inscription on the UNESCO Representative Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The UAE is leveraging its extensive experience in the field of registering intangible heritage to strengthen the role of Arab heritage as a significant part of world heritage.

The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage is composed of 24 States Parties elected for a four-year term by the General Assembly of States Parties and meets annually.

During its tenure, the UAE aims to further its unwavering commitment to intangible heritage preservation as a committee member, including by examining requests for heritage inscriptions and as well as proposals for programmes and projects.

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