Review of Ghana’s culture policy will safeguard cultural heritage – Minister

Mark Okraku Mantey

The government is reviewing the country’s culture policy to safeguard cultural heritage and propel national development.

A reviewed culture policy is needed to properly harness the country’s invaluable assets and channel them into nation-building efforts for the benefit of all Ghanaians as it creates a vibrant cultural ecosystem that drives economic growth, preserves national identity, and fosters social cohesion. 

This was in a speech delivered on behalf of Mr Mark Okraku, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture, at a UNESCO Regional Periodic Report workshop on Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH).

The workshop is on the theme: Strengthening Capacities for Regional Periodic Reporting Under the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Ghana.

The Convention enjoins participating countries to submit periodic data to UNESCO on safeguarding living cultural heritage in a systematic manner.

In 2016, Ghana ratified the 2003 UNESCO Convention with the aim of protecting the country’s intangible cultural heritage.

“Submitting the report to UNESCO is a good responsibility and requirement to encourage us to collect information on the state of our ICH elements and beyond the confines of the convention,” he said.

The Deputy Minister said there was a need to properly document the various changes and impacts of our ICH to enrich the country’s history.

Mr Okraku expressed the Ministry’s commitment to the workshop because the knowledge generated from the event would help to properly handle information pertaining to the cultural heritage.

He urged participants to support the National Folk Board (NFB) by providing information on the state of intangible cultural heritage for effective submission to UNESCO.

Mrs Bernice Ann Deh-Kumah, Executive Director, NFB, said the lack of information on the breadth and depth of the ICH created difficulties in addressing challenges without knowing the current situation.

To address the challenges, she said Ghana was supported by France to undertake a capacity-building workshop for participants across the country to disseminate information on ICH to practicing communities.

She said Ghana had put together the first national register on ICH and submitted an application to UNESCO for the inscription of traditional woven textiles, kente, on a representative list of the cultural heritage of humanity.

She stressed that ICH remained highly relevant not only to promote peace and cultural diversity but also to address challenges like climate disruption.

Mr Carl Ampah, the Representative of UNESCO Ghana, said that through periodic reporting, the country can monitor the effective operationalization of the Convention at the national level.

Source: GNA

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