UNESCO Calls for Pacific Islands to Stop Trafficking Artifacts

ABC Radio Australia has posted an interesting audio commentary on how the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is calling to protect cultural identity in the Pacific Islands.

UNESCO’s Director for the Pacific, Etienne Clement, says countries must act to put a stop to the illegal trafficking of artifacts as well as to protect their cultural diversity, including their languages.

He states that artifact trafficking is on the rise in the Pacific, mainly due to improvements to infrastructure and technology. Another contributing factor is the accessibility of the countries, as Mr. Clement explains, “They’re building roads everywhere, villages that have never been accessible in the past are now accessible, communities are starting to sell their artifacts so in the Pacific it’s growing, it’s the phenomenon that happened in Africa 20 years ago.”

Mr Clement says governments must be more pro-active to protect traditional culture, as many communities do not realize their culture is disappearing until it is too late.

slit drums

To hear Etienne Clement speak on the topic, simply, click here.

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About islandculturearchivalsupport

Island Culture Archival Support (ICAS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of records pertaining to the cultural identity of island peoples in Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia whose national and public archives, libraries, cultural centers, and business organizations are underprivileged, underfunded, and understaffed. The specific purpose for which this nonprofit corporation was formed is to support the needs of these South Pacific cultural heritage institutions by helping to preserve and make accessible records created for business, accountability or cultural purposes. The organization will endeavor to add value by providing resources or volunteers to advise, train, and work among island residents to support their efforts in building their future and preserving their collective memory through the use of modern archival techniques.
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