PROJECT LAUNCHED TO PRESERVE ST. KITTS AND NEVIS’ INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE

Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 29, 2019 (SKNIS): The St. Kitts and Nevis UNESCO Capacity Building Project entitled, “Strengthening Inventory Preparation Capacity for Implementing 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in St. Kitts and Nevis” was officially launched on April 29 at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in an effort to preserve the Federation’s intangible cultural heritage and safeguard it for future generations.

St. Kitts and Nevis’ request for international assistance from the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) Fund was approved for $USD 99,443.00 to implement this national project, which will be executed during a two-year period, 2019 to 2021.

Secretary General of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission for UNESCO, Antonio Maynard, stated that the initiative is “one of the most significant interventions yet made by UNESCO to St. Kitts and Nevis over the past 15 years or so,” adding that not only has UNESCO in this instance provided St. Kitts and Nevis through the Department of Culture with over EC$260,000, but it has also made available simultaneously a vast amount of cutting edge technical expertise that is now accessible from within the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention to which St. Kitts and Nevis is a signatory.

He urged all stakeholders, especially the Department of Culture and its Nevis counterparts, to spare no effort to ensure the efficient and timely implementation of the project.

“This is definitely a most proficient opportunity for us to develop the necessary accompanying, robust infrastructure in order to properly document, protect, preserve and promote our intangible cultural heritage inventory,” said Mr. Maynard. “Our intangible cultural heritage characterizes the very fabric of our society, defining or social behavior and manifests itself in our day-to-day activities, especially in our festivals, carnivals and our many events that are held on St. Kitts and Nevis periodically.”

Phase one of the initiative is being held from April 20 to May 3 with a train the trainer’s workshop.
The workshop will educate 25 people selected from communities in St. Kitts and Nevis (15 from St. Kitts and 10 from Nevis) about how to implement the UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

A series of training workshops is planned with the same participants to develop research, interview, and documentation skills that will be used in a pilot inventorying exercise in 2020 to identify traditional ICH elements that are valued as national treasures. The ultimate goal is to create a national list of ICH that will be safeguarded.

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