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Minister calls for preservation of intangible cultural heritage

Tim Curtis, Phankham Viphavanh and Sisamone Sithirajvongsa at the opening of the Stakeholders' Workshop on the 3002 Convention; (c) Vientiane Times


Times Reporters - Minister of Education and Sports Dr Phankham Viphavanh has urged all state sectors to give priority to promoting and protecting the intangible cultural heritage of Laos for the benefit of younger generations.

Dr Phankham was speaking during a seminar on the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage which ended in Vientiane province yesterday.

The seminar was organised by the Lao National Commission for UNESCO and attended by representatives from Lao line ministries as well as UNESCO experts, including Head of Culture Unit at the UNESCO Bangkok office Dr Tim Curtis.

During the seminar, Dr Phankham highlighted the process of the nation joining the UNESCO Convention in 2009 and stressed the importance of the convention and the obligations of Laos as a signatory to the convention.

He said the Party and government attach great importance to supervising the relevant sectors to fulfil their responsibilities and build awareness of the intangible value of Lao cultural heritage to ensure it is preserved for generations to come.

Participants at the seminar learnt about the processes involved in implementing the convention and the listing of intangible cultural heritage.

Dr Phankham urged all relevant sectors at both the central and local levels to work in cooperation to achieve goals and realise Laos' obligations under the convention. The UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage was adopted in 2003 and came into effect in 2006. To date 134 nations have ratified the convention.

Intangible cultural heritage is defined as the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge and skills transmitted from generation to generation and constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history.

Such heritage provides communities with a sense of identity and continuity, and promotes respect for cultural diversity and human creativity.

Published source: Vientiane Times (Thursday 28 July 2011), page 3.