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Countries in Northeast Asia endorse ICH safeguarding measures at 2nd sub-regional meeting

Participants pose for a group photo at the opening ceremony of the 2nd meeting on Safeguarding ICH in Northeast Asia. Center: Mr Yo. Otgonbayar, Vice-Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Sports ©Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO

Stakeholders for the implementation of safeguarding measures for the intangible cultural heritage (ICH) in Northeast Asia continue to endorse safeguarding measures, expressing their support at the 2016 Sub-Regional Meeting in Ulaanbaatar Mongolia.

The summit which follows two years after the first sub-regional seminar in 2014, hosted authorities from all five states of the Northeast Asia sub-region (Democratic Republic People’s Republic of Korea, Japan, Mongolia, People’s Republic of China, and Republic of Korea) and collaborated the first ever sharing session between country delegates and representatives from the media on the topic of raising awareness about ICH in the region.

Speaking at the event Vice-Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Sports of Mongolia, Mr Yo. Otgonbayar welcomed the prospect of the intangible spheres of culture for sustainable development in the region.

“Northeast Asia should embrace and harness the full potential of culture to promote ICH innovation and creativity for increased well-being for all, especially in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the new vision for humanity” said the dignitary. 

Presenters offering extracts of media coverage on ICH in their countries © Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO

Both country representatives and media personnel demonstrated a history of their efforts and those of their agencies in developing and increasing awareness about intangible cultural heritage through the media. This encompassed the successful use of documentary film-making and print media as platforms and techniques to exhibit different types of craft-making and display the beauty of performing arts, in addition to a wide array of other intangible culture.

More recent approaches were also explored during the presentation sessions, including the use of new media and its particular advantage in engaging younger age groups to understand and draw interest in intangible cultural assets.

The meeting was the first of its kind in Northeast Asia to engage policy advisers and media professionals on the topic of ICH © Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO


Outside the conference, participants took a tour of local media outlets including the TV and Radio counterparts of the Mongolian National Broadcaster, gaining first-hand experience of the interior working environment of the media in Mongolia.

The field trip organized by the Center of Cultural Heritage of Mongolia, allowed many of the participants – media experts in their own field – the opportunity to engage on a familiar playing field. Participation of a representative from the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) sparked crucial engagement with other members, many of whom are affiliated with the Union based in Malaysia.

Participants pose for a photo during a visit to the Mongolian National Broadcaster studios in Ulaanbaatar ©Center of Cultural Heritage of Mongolia


Aside from the knowledge and experience shared during these sessions, the exchange also allowed participants to voice the challenges they face in accessing suitable and skilled partners to help improve the output of media content and further awareness of ICH in their specific countries. The meeting henceforth functioned as a useful stage for networking and further cooperation among its participants.

Local media interviews Ms S. Uyanga, Secretary-General, Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO during the first day of dialogues ©Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO


Likewise hindrances were observed in the manner in which local communities are engaged with the documentation of their expressions of culture. In light of all these set-backs, recommendations were agreed upon to increase awareness to the public of the importance of ICH and the corresponding 2003 Convention to safeguard it; beginning with the mass media – in their countries – to be provided with training for journalists in order to obtain comprehensive knowledge of these themes.

Additionally parties agreed to take measures to produce quality media content that can be circulated among the public as well as contributing to the development of a regional media production resource pool and joint productions for mutual exchange of information, including possibly an audiovisual library.

The event whose agenda was in line with UNESCO’s mandate to foster peace and cooperation through dialogue was organized by the UNESCO Beijing Cluster Office for the Northeast Asian States in coordination with the Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO and the International Information and Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (ICHCAP) Category 2 Centre.

News of the 2016 Sub-regional meeting on ICH was reported on over 30 local media platforms © Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO