HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The government is documenting the intangible culture of the Kathmandu Valley within the current fiscal. In 2010, the government had ratified the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003) designed to safeguard intangible cultural heritage, such as folklore, oral traditions, social rituals and the performing arts.
“We have already formulated a national cultural policy in line with the UNESCO convention in a bid to preserve and promote the culture of Nepal,” said Bishnu Raj Karki, joint secretary at the ministry and member of the Intangible Heritage Cultural Council that has Culture Minister as chairman and culture expert Satya Mohan Joshi as vice-chairman. “The committee will carry out different activities to preserve folklore, festivals, fairs, customs, traditional crafts, performance art and cultural practices. It is working to collect details of intangible cultural heritage of the Kathmandu Valley within this fiscal,” said Karki. “We will work in the districts outside the valley in coming fiscals.” By ratifying the convention, Nepal, the 125th state party to the convention, committed itself at the international level to safeguarding its rich and diverse living heritage.
The main purposes of the convention, which UNESCO member-states adopted in 2003, are to safeguard intangible cultural heritage, to ensure respect for it, to raise awareness on its importance, and to provide for international cooperation and assistance in those fields. Ratifying governments recognise that cultural heritage is not limited to material manifestations, such as monuments and objects, but must be extended to the traditions and living expressions inherited from ancestors.
Signing the convention binds the governments to acknowledge their roles in international cooperation and responsibilities towards implementing the provisions of the convention through adoption of necessary legislative, regulatory and other appropriate measures.
Karki said they would identify the intangible cultural heritage of the country, authenticate, document them and preserve the endangered heritage. “We will provide training and impart necessary skills to enable locals to protect and promote such heritage in a sustainable manner,” he said. “It will take about a decade to prepare inventory and complete identification and documentation of the intangible culture of Nepal.”
The government will work with locals and communities to promote and preserve culture instead of distributing money, according to Karki. “Some groups have come to the ministry seeking millions of rupees in the name of culture promotion and preservation. It is very unethical to misuse funds in the name of culture,” he added.