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Government committed to develop local languages to promote culture – Minister

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Government is committed to ensure the development of local languages to promote culture for national development.

Mr Alexander Asum-Ahensah, Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture announced this when addressing a UNESCO Consultative Forum on Culture in Development in Accra on Thursday.

It was on the theme: “The Power of Culture in Development.”

The Forum was organised by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to consider the proposed formation of a Civil Society Advocacy Forum on Cultural Heritage to pursue and intervene on issues related to the domain and its place in overall national development.

The initiative also seeks to deliberate on the international normative instruments, their ratification and implementation by the Government and UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) and the Protection and Promotion of Diversity of Cultural Expression.

He said government would seek active collaboration and co-operation with other stakeholders and civil society for better results.

Mr Asum-Ahensah said language was the fundamental essence of cultural heritage and an important generational belt for transmission of cultural values.

“Language enjoins us all together from our forbears to the present generation and more importantly to the succeeding generations. It is an area that requires urgent attention as a nation and people,” he said.

He said government was committed to the ratification of the Convention for the Safeguarding of ICH (2003) and the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expression (2003).

Mr Asum-Ahensah said documents had been forwarded to the Attorney- General’s Department for study and advice to take necessary action to ratify them and integrate the contents of the Convention into national development policy for implementation.

He said culture was the elemental source of life and sustenance that could not be separated from other sectors of human activities.

Mr Asum-Ahensah explained that agricultural development and production, health delivery, governance system, environmental practices and its sustainability were premised on the primary ethos of life which was human heritage and value systems.

“Indeed, culture is the fundamental source from which all the other sectors of national endeavour draw their nourishment for growth,” he added.

Mr Asum-Ahensah said civil society partnership was a veritable tool that had been used internationally to attain the objectives of culture in developed countries and the arena of multilateral cultural development framework.

He said it was unfortunate that such civil and public sector partnership had not been realised in any appreciable form in the country, adding that there were Guilds and Unions called Art Association which were devoted to the professional and welfare interests of their members.

Ms Moji Okuribido, UNESCO Regional Adviser for Culture said the international community recognised the significant contribution of culture for sustainable development and for the achievement of national and international development objectives.

She said this was through a Resolution on Culture and Development adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2010, giving Culture and Development agenda much-needed legitimacy and attention.

Ms Okuribido said translating a culture for development agenda into a programme for action required its prioritisation within the legal, institutional, environmental and budgetary frameworks for practical implementation across all relevant government departments.

“It also has to be integrated in donor strategies at the international level,” she said.

Ms Okuribido said in Ghana, UNESCO was advocating and facilitating debate on the inclusion of culture-sensitive approaches in National Development Plans, Policy and related strategies to make development strategies more relevant at the local level.

She expressed the hope that the forum would come up with immediate and practical strategies on how best to reinforce the role of culture as a vector for sustainable development and poverty reduction in Ghana.

Source: GNA

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