Basseterre, St. Kitts, 22nd March, 2023 (ZIZ Newsroom): The Department of Creative Economy, and the ICH Secretariat launched the ‘Safeguarding St. Kitts and Nevis Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH): developing a National Intangible Cultural Heritage Policy’ on Wednesday 22nd March.
According to the department, the primary objective of the project is to develop a National ICH Policy for the purpose of safeguarding ICH, recognizing cultural traditions, protecting Tradition/knowledge Bearers and Practitioners and their corresponding intellectual property rights, by establishing ICH safeguarding guidelines, practices and procedures.
ICH Focal Point in Nevis Patrick Howell explained what Intangible Cultural Heritage refers to.
“Intangible cultural heritage, as opposed to tangible cultural heritage such as monuments, artifacts, buildings, is intangible and includes elements such as language, oral traditions, music, dance, festivals and traditional crafts,” he said. “In recent years, efforts to protect intangible cultural heritage has grown in importance, with UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization playing a key role. UNESCO has created a framework for identifying, safeguarding and promoting intangible cultural heritage around the world, with a goal of preserving these valuable cultural traditions for future generations.”
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Creative Economy Valencia Syder spoke of the importance of safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage.
“A firm understanding of our unique intangible cultural heritage would enhance a sense of national pride and amplify a sense of identity and respect for ourselves. An understanding of the intangible cultural heritage of other communities also goes a long way with progressing into a cultural dialogue and encouraging mutual respect for other ways of life. This practice of transmitting valuable cultural knowledge to generations has enormous sorry social and economic value for our community. Countless persons, whether they be visitors, locals, consumers, they pay absorbent amounts to experience our authentic elements of what is unique to St. Kitts and Nevis’s culture. Just as they value our culture, so too should we value our culture; capitalize on the authenticity of that.”
Secretary General to the St. Kitts & Nevis National Commission for UNESCO Dorothy Warner encouraged citizens to protect and preserve the federation’s ICH.
“Basically, the project is really to develop an ICH policy for St. Kitts and Nevis. We heard talk about the items that were identified and documented. Some things like the calabash, local calabash, the broom making, the vernacular houses, and the clay pottery in Nevis. Those are some of the items that we wish and we hope to eventually have inscribed in on UNESCO’s ICH list. That is our ultimate goal to safeguard ICH items and eventually to nominate some of them for ICH heritage on that list.”
“On a local level, though, I must remark that and I challenge every one of us to ensure that we begin to show respect, to preserve and to protect, and to give these items the prominence that they deserve. If we want to have these internationally recognized, we must, first of all, practice these things in our backyard to make sure that we know what they are about and that we safeguard them because we want international attention and the due regard that is associated with our federation.”
The ICH Policy will also seek to raise awareness and foster appreciation for St. Kitts and Nevis Intangible culture and heritage and the creative and cultural industries.