Mrs Bernice Ann Deh-Kumah, Executive Director, National Folklore Board (NFB), has urged Ghanaians to explore the intangible cultural heritage assets of the country to contribute to global cultural diversity.
This, she said, would also provide a platform for the promotion of the cultural treasures to boost tourism and cultural exchange in Ghana.
She made the observation at a workshop organized by the Board, on the theme: “Strengthening Capacity to Safeguard Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) and contribute to Sustainable Development.”
The workshop was aimed at addressing the various challenges in safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage in Ghana, including lack of awareness, limited resources and inadequate documentation.
Mrs Deh-Kumah noted that the workshop would equip participants with the necessary knowledge, skills and tools to identify, document and safeguard intangible cultural heritage across the country.
She said a national strategy would be developed to ensure that the contextualized safeguarding measures drawn up for the ICH in Ghana would be in line with the spirit and principles of the convention that Ghana signed.
Mrs Deh-Kumah said the ICH was vulnerable to globalization, modernization and other social and economic pressures that threatened its survival, adding that it was, therefore, essential to safeguard the heritage for present and future generations.
“The NFB was supported by UNESCO, and the Government of France for the implementation of the 2003 Convention, and the workshop is one of the evidence of our commitment to safeguard Ghana’s intangible cultural heritage,” she added.
She urged stakeholders to learn from each other, share experiences and develop strategies to safeguard Ghana’s intangible cultural heritage.
She said, “The board has achieved a significant milestone by submitting data to UNESCO for the consideration and inclusion of two of Ghana’s most celebrated cultural icons, thus “Kente” and “Highlife” Music, on the representative list of ICH of humanity.
“We are hoping that, in the year 2023 to 2025 these two elements will be listed for Ghana,” she added.
Mr Carl Ampah, the representative of UNESCO Ghana, said UNESCO was looking forward to collaborating with France and Ghana, through the upcoming projects in addition to the project in the consolidation of a Fort in Amsterdam.
He commended the Government of France for their generous contribution to the ICH fund, saying France has contributed immensely to the preservation of the cultural heritage of Ghana.
Mr Chris Wetcher, Programme Officer for Culture, Ghana Commission for UNESCO, giving an overview of the project, touched on the importance of the convention in safeguarding, respecting other cultural heritage and creating awareness about what Ghana has as a country.
The ICH is a collaboration between the NFB, the National Commission on Culture, UNESCO Country Office, Ghana National Commission for UNESCO and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.