Saturday, December 16, 2000

Int’l meet to be held to safeguard Nepal’s heritage

By Razen Manandhar

KATHMANDU, Dec 15 [2000]- The International Campaign for the Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage of Kathmandu Valley (ICSCHKV), which began here twenty-one years ago, is being terminated, and another programme that targets the preservation of heritage sites is to be launched soon.

Unlike the current campaign, the new program will cover all heritage sites throughout the kingdom.

A member of the UNESCO Evaluation Team, which was here last week to supervise heritage preservation works in the valley, informed The Katmandu Post that ICSCHKV is organising an international conference here from March 28 to 30 to work out a strategy and action plan for next program.

"The conference will work out a new vision for the new millennium and decide how to revive the campaign in broader and more effective ways, " he said.

The venue of the conference has not yet been fixed, but it could be in the historic city of Bhaktapur.

On the first day, the participants will analyze the achievements and failures of the previous campaign. On the second day, the participants will discuss papers presented at the conference and the concluding day will be set aside for strategy formulation and drawing up the new action plan.

Francis Childe, chief of the operational section for Asia and Pacific Division of Cultural Heritage, UNESCO Headquarters, during his recent visit said that the campaign would, among others issues, concentrate on providing training to the craftsman and technicians who are directly involved in preservation works.

Childe was one member of the evaluation team who stayed in the valley for two weeks - from November 28 to December 12. The others being Giles Proctor, an expert from English Heritage International and Keshav Raj Jha, the former Nepali ambassador to UNESCO.

The evaluation team surveyed the 20 heritage sites, met concerned officers and expressed mixed reaction on people’s awareness on heritage conservation.

ICSCHKV works constantly in the field of heritage conservation and raising public awareness in the Kathmandu Valley -- among the elite and illiterate locals. Some areas where it has worked include the Durbar Squares of Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur and areas like Swayambhu, Pashupatinath, Bouddha, Panauti, Thimi, Dahachowk, Lubhu, Bungamati, Khokna, Bode and Dadhikot.

However, some local heritage experts complain that UNESCO is spending a big part of international donations on technical visits than on real conservation works. Out of total US 240,374 dollars, US dollars 62,601 has been spent on visits of experts to Nepal, they say.
Kathmandu Saturday December 16, 2000 Paush 01, 2057.