On April 23 2017, the Regional Centre for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage in West and Central Asia under the auspices of UNESCO and the UNESCO Chair for Human Rights, Peace and Democracy of Shahid Beheshti University organized an expert meeting on “Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) for Environmental Sustainability”.
Founded in 2001, the UNESCO chair for Human Rights, Peace and Democracy of Shahid Beheshti University provides the necessary scientific platform for the establishment of the Centre for Human Rights, Peace and Democracy and Interdisciplinary Research in the Faculty of Law of Shahid Beheshti University.
The two day exert meeting focused on the role of Intangible Cultural Heritage in helping to ensure more sustainable forms of development which is an important issue of the international community with adaptation of the Suitable Development Goal Agenda 2015-2030.
The event was opened by the remarks of Ms Janet Blake, Associate Professor of Shahid Behesti University and UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Expert of UNESCO focused on human rights including cultural diversity and suitable development which, in particular provides the policy framework within which the 2003 Convention for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage was developed.
Ms Mahta Mohegh, representing the UNESCO Tehran Cluster office at this event, referred to culture as a driver of development, which creates a context in which development policies can move forward through local ownership, with greater efficiency and impact. “The power of culture for development lies precisely in its sustainability at the local level. Traditional knowledge, values and practices accumulated and renewed across generations as part of intangible cultural heritage, have guided human societies in their interactions with the surrounding natural environment for millennia.” said Ms Mohegh.
UNESCO highlighted the importance of supporting traditional systems of environmental protection and resource management that can contribute to increased sustainability of fragile ecosystems as well as the preservation of biodiversity.
The opening of the expert meeting continued by the remarks from Dr Mohammad Hassan Talebian, Deputy for Cultural Heritage if the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) made a comprehensive presentation on the Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Historic Environment of Yazd.
The Expert meeting runs until 24 April 2017 with several panel discussion session.