Flanders chooses three Unesco projects for support

Summary

Funding worth €900,000 has been allocated to Unesco projects around the world concerning immaterial cultural heritage and protection of the oceans, as well as a liaison role in Brussels

Cultural and environmental protection

The government of Flanders has selected three Unesco projects to support for the period 2015-2016. The projects will receive funding worth €900,000.

One project involved helping communities keep an inventory of their own intangible cultural heritage. Unesco is committed to the protection of cultural heritage practices and customs and asks local communities to keep an inventory. However, the lack of experience in some areas means they risk losing out. The project Flanders is supporting will provide 70 training sessions in seven African countries, including Botswana, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

Flanders is also funding the protection of marine zones of outstanding universal value threatened by climate change, overfishing and pollution. The project applies a system of planning based on research from Ghent University, to ensure sustainability of marine areas by, for example, fighting illegal fishing and damaging dredging work.

The third project is an extension of a secondment started in 2011, when Unesco director-general  Irina Bokova opened a liaison office in Brussels. Then, a member of staff from Flanders’ department of foreign affairs was seconded to the Unesco office, financed by the Flemish Unesco Trust fund. That secondment is prolonged.

“The activities of Unesco offer Flanders an important opportunity to adopt an international profile,” said minister-president Geert Bourgeois, “and to take part in the development of programmes that have a major impact on Flemish policy.”

Photo: The traditional Jerusarema dance of Zimbabwe
©
Chimbidzikai Mapfumo/Unesco