Jamaica has been successful in securing a place on yet another high-profile UNESCO Committee.
The country was elected unopposed to a seat on the Intergovernmental Committee of the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), at the General Assembly of the Convention which ended on June 6 in Paris, France.
The Jamaican delegation was led by the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange.
In reacting to the successful bid, Minister Grange said:
“Jamaica expresses its sincere thanks for the overwhelming support we have received. We are heartened by the show of camaraderie particularly by St. Kitts and Nevis, who withdrew and in the end provided full backing for Jamaica to sit on the Committee. We do not take this level of support for granted”.
The following 12 countries are now members of the Committee:
Group I - The Netherlands
Group II - Azerbaijan, Poland
Group III - Jamaica
Group IV - China, Japan, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka
Group V(a) - Cameroon, Djibouti, Togo
Group V (b) - Kuwait
The election to the Committee marks the first time Jamaica is to serve on this prestigious UNESCO body. Having earlier this year seen the election of Minister Grange to the UNESCO Executive Board and her selection as Chair of the Conventions and Recommendations Committee, Jamaica now stands tall in the halls of this hallowed World Cultural powerhouse.
It was only last November that Jamaica completed a successful four-year mandate on the World Heritage Committee.
In addressing the General Assembly, Minister Grange encouraged countries that are party to the Convention to make every effort to build capacity within local communities to increase sustainable development for creative practitioners, culture bearers and the community at large.
The Minister emphasised the role which Jamaica’s intangible heritage has played in shaping the country’s identity and in providing economic benefits to communities and individuals in Jamaica.
She told the General Assembly:
“Jamaica is proud of the fact that the musical heritage of the Maroons has been recognised through its inscription in 2008. We also look forward to future inscriptions of our Reggae music and the new religion of Rastafari, which we have given the world. Jamaica encourages all countries to seek to work towards recognition of their indigenous elements through inscription”.
The 13th session of the ICH Committee will take place in Mauritius in November 2018 where Jamaica's submission for the inscription of Reggae music on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity will be considered.