UNESCO Wants Pacific Islands To Protect Its Culture

Radio New Zealand has recently reported that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is urging Pacific Islands countries to sign its convention on the protection and the preservation of cultural properties. The call came from a workshop on the Fight against Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Objects that was held in Vanuatu last week. The workshop involved participants from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Australia and New Zealand.

The workshop also  featured representatives from the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Oceania Customs Organisation, Pacific Heritage Hub/University of the South Pacific and the Pacific Island Museum Association.

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A slit drum, Vanuatu

The director of the UNESCO Office for the Pacific states, Etienne Clement, says the convention was important for protecting the unique culture of the region. He admits the focus for the workshop was Melanesia, where there are huge problems with the removal of cultural objects. Clement believes that a major outcome of the workshop was the adoption by participants of the Port Vila Declaration which is a first step towards getting governments to commit to the cause.

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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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