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Safeguarding St. Kitts and Nevis’ Intangible Cultural Heritage soon to be encapsulated in a Policy Framework

St. Kitts and Nevis has energetically embarked upon the 2nd phase of a UNESCO-funded cultural heritage project entitled: ‘Safeguarding St. Kitts and Nevis Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) – Developing a National Intangible Cultural Heritage Policy.

Led by local ICH focal contacts Marlene Phillips (St. Kitts) and Patrick Howell (Nevis), and backed by UNESCO funds worth over US$91,000, the ICH project will benefit from leading-edge UNESCO technical assistance, aimed at creating a structured National ICH Policy Framework to safeguard the knowledge of tradition bearers, and also to further identify and preserve individual ICH elements.

Welcoming news of the approval of the funding and assistance from UNESCO, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Valencia Syder, stated “I am extremely proud of St. Kitts Department of Culture’s accomplishments in six years regarding intangible cultural heritage since ratifying the UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2016. St. Kitts and Nevis has established two ICH Secretariats, one on each island, to continue safeguarding initiatives. We successfully completed one project that provided skills training in Interview Techniques; Research and Documentation methods; and Digital Audio/camera/video operation.

As a Federation, St. Kitts and Nevis is presently preparing to implement a second project in 2023 that will create the framework for an ICH Policy to guide and regulate practices for safeguarding initiatives. The international

assistance received from the UNESCO ICH Fund has helped St. Kitts and Nevis to expand its human resources in a short period of time by creating an extended ICH Community Network, which includes tradition bearers, government departments, private sector businesses, and civil society to assist with safeguarding our cultural heritage, traditions and customs. It is a wonderful and timely opportunity to strengthen an important aspect of the Federation’s rich cultural heritage and traditions. We anticipate a submission on the final ICH Policy Framework plan to be presented to the Minister of Culture towards the end of 2023”.

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