Singapore looking to ratify Unesco cultural heritage convention: Grace Fu

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, delivering Singapore's National Statement at the 39th Session of the UNESCO General Conference in Paris on Nov 1, 2017. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF CULTURE, COMMUNITY AND YOUTH

PARIS - To protect its unique cultural heritage, Singapore is looking into ratifying a 2003 convention by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), said Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu on Wednesday (Nov 1).

The Unesco convention aims to safeguard aspects of such intangible heritage including the performing arts, cultural rituals and traditional crafts.

By ratifying the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage , Singapore will have to hold to the requirements of the convention to preserve its own cultural heritage, and in turn will receive support from the UN and other countries in these efforts.

Singapore is committed to making constructive contributions to help advance Unesco's agenda, said Ms Fu, who is also chairman of the Singapore National Commission for Unesco, at the 39th session of the general conference of Unesco at its headquarters in Paris.

She pointed to milestones such as the recognition of the Botanic Gardens as a Unesco World Heritage site in 2015 and the National Parks Board receiving the Unesco Sultan Qaboos Prize last month for its contributions to environmental preservation.

"During conversations with many Singaporeans, I am heartened by the strong collective desire for our intangible cultural heritage to be safeguarded for future generations, especially during such times of rapid socio-economic changes and global uncertainty," said Ms Fu.

She said the Republic was drawing up a "comprehensive national blueprint" for Singapore's heritage sector which would include a repository for its intangible cultural heritage in partnership with local communities, academics and experts.

The heritage plan, announced in March this year, aims to preserve and document the country's tangible and intangible cultural heritage, in areas such as traditional Chinese puppetry, and Hindu firewalking.

The heritage plan will be unveiled by the National Heritage Board next year.

Ms Fu said Singapore will step up efforts in the area of preserving its intangible cultural heritage, and added she hoped Unesco would support the Republic's efforts by "exchanging experiences, knowledge and ideas".

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