Over 70 people attended the Forum including His Royal Highness Prince Azim, the Minister and Deputy Ministers of Culture, Youth and Sport, and all four district community representatives. The Forum was divided into three sessions in which the following topics were discussed: 1. Introduction of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage; 2. UNESCO’s Strategies for the Implementation of the 2003 Convention in Asia and Pacific; and 3. Discussion with the National and Working Committee members on the UNESCO’s proposed project entitled 'Strengthening Capacity Building for the Promotion and Implementation of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Brunei Darussalam'.
The opening remarks of the Forum were delivered by Datin Paduka Hajah Adina Binti Haji Othman, the Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport. In her speech, Datin emphasized the importance of safeguarding the ICH of Brunei and the country’s readiness to commit itself for the more proactive engagement in ICH safeguarding at both national and international levels.
The first and second sessions discussed collaboration in ICH safeguarding at both international and regional levels, in particular on its challenges in Asia and Pacific region. Masanori Nagaoka, Head of Culture unit of the UNESCO Office Jakarta, presented UNESCO’s strategies for the implementation of the 2003 Convention, while giving an overview of the various ICH safeguarding practices in South-East Asia. Mr. Nagaoka also outlined UNESCO’s view on the importance of regional collaboration and network building among stakeholders.
The Meeting then continued to an afternoon session which invited designated national and working group members of Brunei to identify prioritized actions for the implementation of the Convention at national level. During the third session, the participants discussed a number of challenges faced in Brunei and the ways to tackle these issues to safeguard its significant ICH. Mr. Nagaoka underlined that UNESCO’s strategic emphasis on strengthening capacities of national counterparts to implement the Convention, meet their obligations for safeguarding, and benefit from the opportunities and mechanisms of international cooperation created under the Convention.
Mr. Nagaoka further introduced to the participants UNESCO’s series of training workshops which include training materials with lesson plans, presentations, slide-shows, exercises and quizzes. The approach adopted in developing these materials has been to emphasize interactivity and active learning. One result from the workshop is that the Government of Brunei is currently considering working closely with UNESCO having these training workshops delivered in Brunei in order to consolidate the country’s capacity and update/revise the country’s mechanism to commit itself to the safeguarding of ICH.