Community-based Inventorying of Intangible Cultural Heritage
24-31 August 2013 (Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan)

This training workshop is aimed at enhancing the national capacities in the field for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage (ICH), in particular ICH inventorying under the 2003 UNESCO Convention on intangible cultural heritage, including the practical technical skills in inventory-making. Experts from Kyrgyzstan will be trained in identifying, defining, inventorying and documenting the ICH. They are in charge of implementing concrete safeguarding activities and conducting training in the management and appropriate transmission of ICH, while undertaking and/or coordinating ICH-related scientific, technical, legal, economic and other studies. The purpose of this session is to raise awareness about the value and diversity of the ICH and ensure community participation and consent in all activities concerning their ICH. Participants will be from governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), communities, institutions and individual experts, with preference to local communities. Further information … Visit the UNESCO ICH website …

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2013
9 August 2013 (UN Headquarters and worldwide)

This year’s International Day theme was “Indigenous peoples building alliances: Honouring treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.” The theme aims to highlight the importance of honouring agreements between States, their citizens and indigenous peoples, emphasizing the principles of friendship, co-operation and peace. A special programme of activities took place at UN Headquarters in New York, US. At the opening, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that the post-2015 development agenda should incorporate the rights, perspectives and needs of indigenous peoples, who have made clear that they want development that takes into account culture and identity and the right to define their priorities. UN Assistant Secretary-General Shamshad Akhtar, on behalf of Under-Secretary-General Wu Hongbo, called on everyone to adopt a stronger level of commitment to implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Paul Kanyinke Sena, Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), stressed the need to address injustices of the past, especially in the post-colonial context of nation building, calling for greater efforts in Africa, and highlighting that honouring treaties, agreements and other arrangements allows for conflicting notions of territoriality, cultural practice and ideas of development to be reconciled for the greater common good. UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay noted that “even when signed or otherwise agreed more than a century ago, many treaties remain the cornerstone for the protection of the identity, land and customs of indigenous peoples, determining the relationship they have with the State.” CBD Executive Secretary Braulio de Souza Dias provided an overview of instruments developed under the Convention related to traditional knowledge, noting they will all contribute to the achievement of Aichi target 18 – that by 2020, the traditional knowledge of indigenous and local communities and their customary use of biological resources are respected and fully integrated and reflected in the implementation of the Convention, with the full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities.

Irina Bokova, Director-General, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said that global sustainability must build on local foundations reflecting the views and needs of local communities, including indigenous peoples; and highlighted UNESCO’s leadership of inter-agency work to include indigenous knowledge in the 2014 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). WIPO Director General Francis Gurry stressed that indigenous peoples and local communities have a direct stake in the negotiations underway at WIPO with the objective of reaching agreement on an international legal instrument/s which will ensure the effective protection of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples James Anaya stressed that the right of indigenous peoples to recognition and enforcement of treaties, agreements and other constrictive arrangements is a key right recognized in UNDRIP. The International Land Coalition affirmed the role of indigenous peoples as custodians of land, water and biodiversity, and highlighted the 2013 Antigua Declaration, which expresses concern over land grabbing and criminalization of customary forms of land and resource use. Visit the Day’s webpage, including links to programme and statements …

Amplifying the voices of indigenous communities
SciDev.Net, 8 August 2013

LONDON, UK: The UNESCO LINKS programme brings together the sophisticated and often ancient natural world knowledge held by local and indigenous societies across the globe. Unlocking these unique ways of knowing — including environmental knowledge, philosophy, resource use practice, and ritual  — is fundamental to driving development that is both sustainable and appropriate. Douglas Nakashima, section chief of UNESCO LINKS (Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems), argues that the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) should not “reinvent the wheel” but instead recognize and build upon the invaluable networks that have been created to engage traditional knowledge holders — from the unique whale migration insights of the Iñupiaq people in the northwest Arctic, to marine science understanding developed over centuries by communities in the Pacific Islands. Read the article …

Meeting of Category 2 Centres in the Field of Intangible Cultural Heritage
24-26 July 2013 (Sozopol, Bulgaria)

This global meeting is organized by UNESCO and the Regional Centre for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in South-Eastern Europe. The meeting aims to provide an opportunity for participants to take stock of the recent developments in the life of the Convention on intangible cultural heritage and the larger trends underway at UNESCO concerning category 2 centres. It will also facilitate joint efforts for the integration of the Organization’s medium-term strategy (37 C/4) and programme and budget for the coming quadrennium (37 C/5) into the medium-term and short-term planning of the respective centres, enabling them to continue to contribute effectively to UNESCO’s work. Further information on the meeting … Further information on Category 2 centres …

Four communities in Uganda launch inventory making of their intangible cultural heritage
UNESCO release, 2 July 2013

PARIS, FRANCE: With funds from the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund, a project was launched in July 2013 to enable four communities in Uganda to identify their living heritage, as an essential step for its safeguarding. Uganda’s Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, which is responsible for its implementation, will establish a national strategy for inventorying intangible cultural heritage and organize a workshop in the capital in order to train local coordinators on the principle and methodologies of inventorying intangible heritage, while highlighting the importance of the fullest possible involvement of the communities concerned. Members from the Acholi, the Alur, the Basongora and the Ik communities will then be guided by the local coordinators in identifying and documenting their intangible cultural heritage during five months of fieldwork; the results will be included in a national inventory. Read the release …

Chengdu International Conference on Intangible Cultural Heritage
14-16 June 2013 (Chengdu, China)

The Chengdu International Conference on Intangible Cultural Heritage in Celebration of the Tenth Anniversary of UNESCO’s Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage gathered more than 300 experts, who came together for wide-ranging debates on the achievements and challenges of the first decade of the Convention and on its opportunities and perspectives for coming decades. The meeting adopted the Chengdu Recommendations, in which participants call upon the international community to renew its commitment to the Convention’s fundamental premise that intangible cultural heritage is a guarantee of sustainable development; endorse the declaration of the Hangzhou International Congress held in May 2013 on the theme of “Culture: Key to Sustainable Development,” that inclusive economic development should be achieved through activities focused on sustainably protecting, safeguarding and promoting heritage; call on educators, institutions and policy makers to recognize that intangible heritage has a central place in educational curricula and education systems; recall the countless systems of conflict avoidance and dispute resolution that are part of the intangible heritage of communities worldwide and the contribution they can bring to building and maintaining peace; recall the central role that intangible cultural heritage plays in helping communities to prevent or mitigate natural disasters and recover from such events; acknowledge the central role that knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe play in maintaining sustainable ecosystems and biodiversity and in helping communities to ensure food security and health; and encourage establishing sound and effective safeguarding mechanisms driven by and responsive to communities’ needs and aspirations, and addressing appropriately the relationships between transmission and innovation and between safeguarding and commercial use. Download the Recommendations [pdf] … Read the UNESCO release of 17 June … Read the UNESCO release of 15 June …

Maria and the Ukok Princess: Climate change and the fate of the Altai
Gleb Raygorodetsky, OurWorld 2.0, 21 June 2013

ALTAI, RUSSIAN FEDERATION: In this article, Gleb Raygorodetsky describes his travels in the Altai, its landscape, peoples, history and culture, and challenges related to climate change and the preservation of sacred sites. Read the article …

International Expert and Stakeholder Workshop: The Contribution of Indigenous and Local Knowledge Systems to IPBES: building synergies with science
9-11 June 2013 (Tokyo, Japan)

Convened by the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), co-organized by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan and UNESCO, and hosted by UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace, this workshop was part of the ongoing intersessional process leading up to the second session of the IPBES plenary, scheduled for 9-14 December 2013, in Antalya, Turkey. It gathered over 30 academics and experts from around the world, with the aim to: examine and identify procedures and approaches for working with indigenous and local knowledge systems in the framework of IPBES; and review and assess possible conceptual frameworks for the work of IPBES that are based on or accommodate indigenous and local knowledge systems and worldviews.

In his opening remarks, IPBES Chair Professor Zakri highlighted that responding to the biodiversity crisis requires sound leadership and policies, which, in turn, require sound science. He noted that IPBES is designed to reduce the gulf between the wealth of scientific knowledge on declining biodiversity and its services, and knowledge about effective action to reverse these damaging trends, while the workshop’s responsibility is to develop a process that ensures the scientific and policy communities recognize, consider and accommodate indigenous and local knowledge in the framework of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. Highlighting the interaction between scientific and technical authors with indigenous experts on the soon-to-be-released IPCC fifth assessment report on climate change, he noted the exchange of knowledge is truly inspiring, adding that traditional knowledge has a long history of sustainable management practices but also boasts great innovations and solutions to global problems. Further information on the workshop … Download the workshop’s agenda [pdf] … Download Professor Zakri’s opening remarks [doc] … Visit the IPBES website …

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