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Janet Blake - Cultural Heritage as a Resource

Cultural Heritage as a Resource

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Janet Blake - Cultural Heritage as a Resource

  1. 1. Dr Janet Blake Faculty of Law Shahid Beheshti University Tehran
  2. 2. Dynamism of cultural heritage law Deliberate destruction of cultural property in wartime is now accepted as a crime against humanity and often by non-state actors Cultural heritage and natural heritage - under the 1972 World Heritage Convention, they are no longer viewed as separate Trafficking in cultural property - the 1970 UNESCO Convention a primarily diplomatic framework, 1995 UNIDROIT Convention to facilitate the process of return/restitution and international litigation, the ‘Palermo’ Convention of 2000 treats it as part of transnational criminality Fundamental shift in how States think about heritage – epitomised most clearly in the 2003 Intangible Heritage Convention
  3. 3. 2003 Convention - a paradigm shift towards human rights and sustainability It represented major new ways of thinking about heritage in response to developments that had occurred in international policy-making (both cultural and in other areas) from the 1990s: (1) The centrality of the role accorded to “communities, groups and … individuals” in all stages of safeguarding, from identification to designing and implementing safeguarding plans is unique in a global cultural heritage treaty. (2) It was the first international treaty to make explicit (in its Preamble) the role of intangible heritage in preserving cultural diversity, a human rights value in itself (3) It also stressed the importance of safeguarding ICH fo r ensuring truly sustainable forms of development.
  4. 4. Why a new treaty for ICH? It is also notable that this Convention was particularly championed by countries of the ‘global South’ which felt their interests had not been met in previous UNESCO cultural heritage instruments, especially the World Heritage Convention.
  5. 5. Evolutions in International Policy from the 1990s: Heritage, Development and Sustainability This talk is strategically situated within two important and inter- connected discourses, namely that of human rights and sustainable development. This is a vital context for ensuring sustainability of communities and of safeguarding their heritage and is as important for urban contexts as well as rural ones. Recent international policy documents on sustainable development and the post-2015 development agenda set out the three fundamental principles of sustainable development as: — human rights — equality — sustainability
  6. 6. Evolutions in International Policy from the 1990s [2] During the early to mid-1990s, important new thinking occurred in international development theory with the evolution of the twin notions of: Human development – a human rights-based view of development (moving away from a purely economic model) Sustainable development – humans remain at the centre, and seen as based on three ‘pillars’ (environmental/economic/socio-cultural); notion of inter- generational equity; recognition of the value of local and indigenous cultures and heritage as ‘resources’
  7. 7. Where is cultural heritage in this? Report of World Commission on Culture and Development (UNESCO, 1995) saw culture as a constituent element in the development process, not just contingent to it. Important elements of this are: — An explicit connection is made in this document between heritage as a holistic concept (combining tangible and intangible) — The inter-action between its cultural and natural elements — The imperative to safeguard it and pass it on to future generations (hopefully in an enhanced condition) — The role of heritage in the formation of group identity.
  8. 8. Excluding culture from the international development paradigm Millenium Development Goals (2000-2015) - noexplicit cultural goal, although those relating to education and health clearly contain important cultural components. Outcome document of the 2012 Rio+20 meeting – made direct reference to culture and emphasised that all three dimensions of sustainable development should all be given importance in UN programming for sustainability. The 2015-2030 Sustainable Development Goals ….
  9. 9. Putting culture back into development… The adoption of the 2003 Convention and the Convention on Diversity of Cultural Expressions in 2005 led to greater consideration of the relationship between cultural heritage, creativity and the sustainability of development. UNESCO has begun working to place culture much more firmly in this development agenda, not as an adjunct (or even an obstacle to) development but as a key driver of it. There remains much work to be done before culture is accorded its proper place in setting international development goals and their implementation.
  10. 10. Hangzhou Declaration (UNESCO, 2013) International Congress on Culture: Key to Sustainable Development in Hangzhou (China) in 2013 aiming: — To examine more profoundly the linkages between culture and sustainable development — To provide a sound basis for future policy-making and programming. The Hangzhou Declaration called for: An international development Goal in the post-2015 UN development agenda “based on heritage, diversity, creativity and the transmission of knowledge and [should include] clear targets and indicators that relate culture to all dimensions of sustainable development"
  11. 11. Further evolution in International Policy: Heritage and Human (Cultural) Rights Each of these development approaches also has strong human rights dimensions which reflect the need to develop human capacities (as supported by human rights) and social justice. In parallel, during the 1990s, cultural rights received belated international attention. In UNESCO, a programme initiated in the late 1990s to codify cultural rights led to the adoption in 2001 of the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity: This had provided a very significant background for the later adoption of both the 2003 and 2005 Conventions. In a related development, ECOSOC had been working since the early 1990s towards a Declaration on indigenous rights and, eventually in 2007 the UN General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights.
  12. 12. Human rights and cultural heritage protection The 2011 Human Rights Council (HRC) Report on the right of access to and enjoyment of cultural heritage was ground- breaking in giving formal recognition of cultural heritage as a proper subject for human rights. At paragraph 1 it stated: “As reflected in international law and practice, the need to preserve/safeguard cultural heritage is a human rights issue. Cultural heritage is important not only in itself, but also in relation to its human dimension, in particular its significance for individuals and communities and their identity and development processes.”
  13. 13. A human right to cultural heritage Asserting a human right to access to and enjoyment of cultural heritage (including the right of communities, groups and individuals to participate in the safeguarding process) raises some challenging questions: — Which and whose cultural heritage deserves protection? Who defines cultural heritage and its significance? — How far can/do individuals and communities participate in the interpretation, preservation and safeguarding of cultural heritage? — To what extent do they have access to and enjoy it? — How can conflicts and competing interests over cultural heritage be resolved? — What are the possible limitations on a right to cultural heritage?
  14. 14. Cultural heritage and human dignity Cultural heritage plays a central role in the construction of individual and collective cultural identities. Preservation of their cultural identities is of crucial importance to the well-being and self-respect that lie at the heart of an individual’s, and also a community’s, human dignity. The 2003 Convention clearly acknowledges the linkage between cultural identity, human dignity and cultural diversity and recognises that respect for individual and collective dignity implies respect for cultural differences. ICH also contains the potential to contribute towards social inclusiveness. In this way, an ICH element that represents the cultural identity of the dominant group should also open itself up to new-comers (e.g. Human Towers element in Catalonia).
  15. 15. Sustainable development and the 2003 Convention Preamble: ICH is “a mainspring of cultural diversity” and a “guarantee of truly sustainable development”. Article 2(1): "...consideration will be given solely to such intangible cultural heritage as is compatible with … the requirements of … sustainable development." This broadening out of the conception of the role of cultural heritage in society provides Parties with a framework within which to develop heritage-based policies related to a wide number of aspects of government
  16. 16. Parallelism of ICH safeguarding and sustainable development goals ICH mirrors the sustainable development agenda in its cross- sectoral character: It encompasses the activities of a number of non-cultural sectors (e.g. health, food security, education) Effective safeguarding of ICH requires a similarly horizontal cooperation between governmental bodies and regional and local authorities as do the procedural aspects of sustainable development. The importance given to community (and group) participation in safeguarding ICH in the 2003 Convention responds directly to a procedural principle of sustainable development
  17. 17. Operational Directives for the 2003 Convention (2016) on sustainable development This shows its breadth as a policy question: — Food security — Health care — Quality education for all as part of inclusive social development — Environmental sustainability through stronger community-based resilience to natural disasters and climate change — Income generation through productive employment and decent work — Tourism towards sustaining livelihoods — Inclusive economic development — Contributing to the peace and security dimension of sustainable development through preventing disputes and post-conflict resolution
  18. 18. Integration of ICH into non- cultural policy areas This is a significant aspect policy-making for ICH safeguarding and has become a priority line of action within the national development planning in several Parties over the past ten years or so. The 2012 and 2013 Periodic Reporting cycles of States Parties to the Convention showed that almost 75% of reporting countries had established some kind of new ICH safeguarding policy; 24 of these had sought to integrate ICH safeguarding into other policy areas, mostly development-oriented.
  19. 19. Sustainability and tradition Truly sustainable models of development depend upon innovation while the ability to innovate is often built upon inherited “traditions”. ICH (cultural heritage more generally) is not something stuck in the past but, rather, a set of skills, know-how, understandings that have been passed on through generations and have acquired new shapes and additional elements over time. ICH is a living heritage and this, in turn, is an essential basis of its potential to contribute in various ways to sustainability of communities and their livelihoods, of the environment and of our human co-existence.
  20. 20. Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (‘Faro’ Convention, 2005) A strong human rights approach underpins the Faro Convention is notable: The concept of the ‘common heritage of Europe’ is viewed as a commitment to fundamental values, in particular human rights, democracy and participation. It presents to heritage protection paradigm as the sustainable management of the cultural heritage and attempts to reconcile the economic and non-economic aspects of cultural heritage through the operation of a multi-dimensional concept of ‘value’.
  21. 21. Faro Convention and sustainability The rich and diverse cultures of modern Europe derive from heritage which is a ‘cultural capital’, through human innovation and application. Measures taken to safeguard cultural heritage are not some peripheral activity, but constitute essential actions for sustaining and utilizing assets that are vital both to the quality of contemporary life and to future progress. The treaty places an emphasis how cultural heritage can be used sustainably to create economic and social conditions favourable to the survival of diverse communities.
  22. 22. ‘Heritage communities’ A heritage community is not one based necessarily on fixed, shared characteristics such as language, religion, or ethnicity, but is one whose membership can shift and change and whose cooperation with other similar communities in Europe can be beneficial (Art. 2(b)). This again underpins a democratic approach and responds to the requirement for cultural citizenship. It is based on the notion that, without a community to create, practise and maintain it, there can be no cultural life.

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