11 October 2018
UNESCO and the Ministry of Information and Culture (MoIC) organized a four-day workshop on community-based inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) between October 7-10, 2018. Held under the project “Silk Roads Heritage Corridors in Afghanistan, Central Asia and Iran – International Dimension of the European Year of Cultural Heritage”, this initiative was funded by the European Union.This training was part of an integrated strategy to preserve and promote ICH in Afghanistan and followed an initial workshop on the implementation of the 2003 Convention that took place at the National Museum in April 2018. This second workshop’s main purpose was to strengthen the capacity of relevant stakeholders in the country, especially communities and practitioners, to effectively document, protect and promote their ICH, preventing its disappearance and promoting some level of sustainable economic development.
For four days, selected local community members and ICH practitioners in Bamiyan, representatives from local NGOs and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), the University of Bamiyan, local media, national and local representatives from the MoIC in Bamiyan, Herat and Badakshan, took part in this initiative. The first two days were spent learning and discussing fundamental theoretical concepts, with the third day used to make an inventory of some examples of ICH practices in Bamiyan. On the last day, participants presented and revised the information gathered, and a broad discussion on practical measures to safeguard ICH was held.
It is expected that after completion of this workshop, participants will continue documenting ICH in Bamyian for a period of four to five months. As discussed during the training, this inventorying will be conducted with a participatory and integrated approach, through actively involving members of concerned communities. After this period, a second community-based inventorying workshop will be organized to assess the inventory work done at the local level, to conduct an in-depth review of the inventory data, and to identify the challenges participants faced.
Afghanistan has ratified the 2003 Convention in March 2009, and is currently in the process of developing an Intangible Cultural Heritage Policy and establishing a national Intangible Cultural Heritage inventory. UNESCO continues working closely with the MoIC and other relevant ministries and stakeholders and remains committed to providing assistance in the safeguarding of the rich and diverse Intangible Cultural Heritage of the country.