The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has blamed inadequate legal framework and lack of funds for none implementation of 2003 Convention for Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Nigeria.
Ms Adele Nibona, the Culture Advisor, UNESCO Regional Office in Abuja, made this known in a statement on Thursday.
UNESCO in 2003 during its general conference passed the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The convention was aimed at safeguarding the uses, representations, expressions, knowledge and techniques which communities, groups, individuals recognise as integral part of their cultural heritage.
According to Nibona, the numerous cultural heritages have not received proper attention to actualise its potential.
“Nigeria like many other countries of the world has numerous cultural heritages that give identity to the people and promote its diversity.
“Unfortunately, not so much attention is accorded the intangible heritage in the country as we see in our tangible heritage.
“Our intangible cultural heritage have not enjoyed adequate attention to enable it derive and maximise its full potential.
“The awareness of intangible cultural heritage are insufficient and do not have legal programmatic framework to protect them.
“As such, Nigeria having ratified this convention, showed significant commitment to Safeguarding Intangible Heritage and has embarked on several initiatives to safeguard heritage sites in the country.
“The challenges before now include inadequate legal and institutional frameworks, lack of funding, weak coordination among institutions, and lack of sufficient expertise and understanding the scope of the mechanism of the 2003 Convention,” she said.
Nibona said that the diverse cultural heritage in the country had the ability to build human relationships, sustain livelihood and contribute to economic development.
She, however, said that the challenge over the years prompted UNESCO in collaboration with the Federal Government and financial support from Japanese government launched a project for cultural development in 2014.
The officer was to lay a solid foundation to support Nigeria within the framework of UNESCO’s global strategy for strengthening national safeguarding capacities.
She said that three communities in Niger, Oyo and Cross River States were selected for the pilot intervention.
Nibona said that the project had been able to achieve a sustainable institutional mechanism for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage at national levels with adequate legal frameworks.
She added that it established and tested a participatory inventory methodology and mechanism tailored to the need of Nigeria with the participation of communities.
The officer said that it increased capacities for the country to benefit from international assistance through the intangible Heritage Funds. (NAN)