ICHCAP and the International Mask Arts & Culture Organization (IMACO) under the support of the Cultural Heritage Administration and the City of Andong, jointly organized the Network Building Information Meeting for UNESCO-Accredited NGOs under the theme Promoting International Cooperation by UNESCO-Accredited NGOs in Korea. The two day meeting was held on 29 and 30 March at the Andong Grand Hotel.
Twenty representatives and staff from the five UNESCO-accredited NGOs in Korea—Inter-City Intangible Cultural Cooperation Network, Center for Intangible Culture Studies (in Korean), World Martial Arts Union, IMACO, and Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation—were in attendance.
Under the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, NGOs in the various fields of intangible heritage play crucial roles as intermediaries between communities and governments. However, the lack of information sharing and cooperative networks between organizations presents a challenge to effective international safeguarding efforts.
In light of the situation, ICHCAP and IMACO sought to provide UNESCO-accredited NGOs in Korea a chance to share information and network to enhance their capabilities for international cooperation.
Session 1 consisted of an overview of trends in international intangible heritage safeguarding while Session 2 consisted of the five respective UNESCO-accredited NGOs sharing information about their activities. Emphasis was placed on their key projects and international cooperation planned for 2016 to create opportunities for mutual cooperation in connection with international safeguarding activities.
In concluding the meeting, participants adopted a joint agreement to regularly hold cooperative meetings and other activities. This agreement will serve as a starting point for building a network of NGOs centered on the UNESCO-accredited NGOs in Korea. Moreover, it is also hoped that the network will serve as the roots of an intangible heritage NGO network, beginning in the Asia-Pacific and spreading across the world.