2019 Expert Meeting for Building Network on Maritime ICH

Tawi-Tawi, Sitankai Island, south of the Philippines © Jesus Peralta

The International Information and Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region under the auspices of UNESCO (ICHCAP) and the Hoi An Center for Cultural Heritage Management and Preservation will be jointly holding the 2019 Expert Meeting for Building Network on Maritime ICH in Hoi An, Vietnam, on November 21st and 22nd. The theme of this meeting is Maritime Traditional Beliefs and Practice, and over 30 experts on maritime culture and traditional customs from 12 countries in the Asia Pacific will be attending.

Marine heritage includes not only natural resources, but also diverse cultural resources such as belief systems, traditional customs and archaeological sites in coastal communities, which are unfortunately facing the threat of extinction due to modernization and climate change. The objectives of this meeting are to raise awareness of endangered maritime ICH and traditional knowledge, while building stronger networks between experts on the field through information sharing and identification of best practices in sustainable development using maritime ICH.

This network meeting will begin with an opening speech by Keum Gi-hyung, ICHCAP Director-General, and keynote presentations by Nguyen Chi Trung, Director of the Hoi An Center for Cultural Heritage Management and Preservation (“Maritime ICH Safeguarding and Sustainable Development”), and Ham Han-hui, Director of the Center for Intangible Culture Studies (“Life in Maritime Communities and the Meaning of Folk Beliefs and Customs”). This will be followed by discussions between maritime culture experts from various countries in the Asia Pacific such as South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia and Fiji.

Goal 14 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals pertains to the preservation and sustainable use of marine, sea and marine resources. Recently, there has been growing interest in the use of traditional knowledge from coastal communities to achieve this SDG. The ICHCAP hopes that the maritime ICH expert network formed at this meeting leads on to the formation of a cooperation system in coastal regions and the maritime silk road, which would ultimately contribute to the achievement of sustainable development goals.

The Hoi An Ancient Town where the meeting will be held is inscribed to the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.