The protection and transmission of heritage goes through digitization

The protection of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity and its transmission to future generations necessarily go through digitization, said Monday in Rabat, officials and experts from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Digitization is a “major challenge” and a “building site for the future” which will make it possible to bring intangible cultural heritage closer to young people and involve them in actions aimed at its safeguarding and transmission, indicated Morocco’s permanent ambassador to of UNESCO, Samir Addahre, during a press conference marking the opening of the work of the 17th session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, organized in Rabat from 28 to 3 December.

The importance of this digital dimension was underlined by the Royal message addressed to the participants in this session and which was read, earlier in the morning, at the opening of the works of this world conclave, noted Addahre, president of the Committee , adding that “the issue of digitization is indeed on the agenda of the Committee and, although it has not yet reached an advanced stage, we are working on it and we hope that a stronger impetus will be given since Flap”.

The ultimate objective is for young people to take ownership of the cause of intangible cultural heritage, which is of a “broader and more complex” nature than tangible heritage since it integrates several dimensions and disciplines, including culture, history , anthropology, traditions, etc., insisted the Ambassador Permanent Delegate of Morocco to UNESCO.

In turn, Ernesto Ottone Ramirez, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Culture, stressed the need to develop this concept of “digital heritage” which is more likely to interest young people “by speaking the language than they master best, that of new technologies”, reviewing some pilot projects developed by UNESCO in various parts of the world for the creation of an online educational platform incorporating data and documents relating to the elements of tangible and intangible heritage .

In today’s world, the dazzling development of new information and communication technologies opens up broad prospects for education in intangible heritage and the transfer of knowledge, which will be “a project of the future”, noted the UN official who said he was “delighted” to be in Morocco to take part in this grandiose event where “the richness of the living heritage of humanity unfolds in all its richness and splendour”.

After three successive sessions held online due to the health crisis linked to Covid-19, the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage has chosen Morocco this year to hold its 17th annual session.

During this meeting, attended by representatives of States Parties, non-governmental organizations, cultural institutions and other stakeholders from around the world, the Committee will examine 24 reports on an element inscribed on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage Urgent Safeguarding and 42 reports from States Parties in Europe on the implementation of the 2003 Convention and on the current status of elements inscribed on the Representative List.

The Committee will also consider 4 nominations for the Urgent Safeguarding List, 46 nominations for the Representative List, 5 proposals for the Register of Good Practices and one request for international assistance.

Composed of 24 representatives elected from among the 180 States Parties to the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, the Committee is responsible in particular for promoting the objectives of the Convention, adopted by the General Conference of the UN organization on October 17, 2003 and entered into in force in 2006.

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