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Bamiyan will be the Cultural Capital of SAARC
Sep 26, 2014

The third meeting of Culture Ministers from the SAARC countries was held in New Delhi on September 25. The Culture Ministers of SAARC member-states took this opportunity to wholeheartedly approve of greater co-operation and collaboration in the diverse fields that are clubbed under culture. The SAARC Culture Ministers appraised the meeting on national initiatives on conservation, preservation and promotion of cultural heritage, commended the work done by the SAARC Cultural Centre in Colombo in implementation of the SAARC agenda for culture and recognising the financing requirements of cultural development programmes, proposed a joint meeting of SAARC Culture Ministers with SAARC Ministers of Finance. 

The SAARC Culture Ministers unanimously adopted the report of the SAARC Senior Officers meeting and endorsed the recommendations with regard to revisions in the SAARC agenda for culture, SAARC Festivals in Member Countries, Declaration of 2016 as SAARC year for Cultural Heritage

They adopted the Delhi Resolution as a roadmap for cultural relations in the SAARC region for the period 2014-17. The SAARC Culture Ministers unanimously resolved the following:

  • To declare 2016-17 as the SAARC Year of Cultural Heritage. To note that for 2015-16, Bamiyan will be the SAARC cultural capital and the inauguration ceremony of Bamiyan as SAARC cultural capital will take place in April 2015.
  • To formulate proposals for transnational nominations for the world heritage list and a regional list of heritage sites. To recognize the impact and contribution of maritime routes and the monsoon as also other inland relations, especially through the centuries of trade, both maritime and inland, migration, colonialism, and modern statecraft, through enhanced interaction between member countries, by redefining cultural linkages through transnational nominations.

  • To promote SAARC culture online by launching a dedicated SAARC website on culture, with emphasis on digitization of rare manuscripts, rare books and other articles of intangible cultural value.

  • To strengthen cultural institutions in the SAARC region, promote cultural festivals showcasing themes that are unique to the region within SAARC member states, and enable meaningful exchange programmes for artists, performers, writers and scholars.

  • To establish a SAARC Cultural Heritage Committee (SHC) and build cultural institutions, which, in turn, will bolster efforts in preservation, maintenance, as well as digital mapping of historic sites in member countries, and simultaneously develop inventories of cultural assets in museums and other repositories of the region and apply best practices and standards therein.

  • To promote the literatures produced in the local languages of the regions, and make them available to readers across the world through translations, not only into English, but also through direct translation from one SAARC language to another, and also to provide financial support to writers to work on creative projects, collaborate with other writers and provide them increased exposure to other cultures.

  • To accord the highest priority to the preservation of folklores and other oral traditions that embody local narratives and local cultures, both in order to facilitate a better understanding of our shared past in this age of global cultural memes, and to envision the cultural future of the region anew.

  • To promote visual and performing arts from the SAARC region in other parts of the world to mirror the vast riche –both cultural and geographic–that adorn these lands, as part of a sustained campaign of cultural diplomacy to attract tourists to these places and stimulate SAARC tourism.

  • To support, on mission-mode, the improvement of literacy of SAARC populaces, and further, promote a reading habit among the citizens by providing access to books and other reading materials through establishing libraries in remote places.

  • To promote the urge and interest of the SAARC country visitors to archeologically important places and heritage sites by fixing a common rate for entrance therein.

The time-frame for the accomplishment of these goals has been decided as 2014 to 2017. The ministers further pledged a renewed commitment to cultural diplomacy and meaningful cultural exchange as the cornerstone of a dynamic and rejuvenated SAARC neighbourhood, where economic ties and geopolitical alliances are deeply informed by the nuanced cultural connections forged by people-to-people contact. The SAARC Culture Ministers, further, resolved to meet again in the near-future to take the agenda forward.

The SAARC Culture Ministers agreed to meet in Bangladesh for the fourth Culture Ministers meeting.

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