Achievements in the protection and promotion of intangible cultural heritage, contributing to socio-economic development in Vietnam

07/04/2017
Under the leadership of the Party, the development and implementation of mechanisms and policies on preservation of cultural heritage in general and intangible cultural heritage in particular have made very encouraging achievements in Vietnam. 
In general, as a result of studying and disseminating the Resolution of the 5th Plenum of the Central Committee, 8th Tenure, the Resolution of the 9th Plenum, 11th Tenure and the basic contents of the Law on Cultural Heritage, management cadres at all levels and people have raised their awareness about the important role of cultural heritage in general and intangible cultural heritage in particular. At the same time, we have been actively implementing mechanisms and policies to harness the potential of heritage for socio-economic development.
Hundreds of programs, projects and action plans on preservation of intangible cultural heritage, including many intersectoral programs, have been implemented. In addition, hundreds of projects on studying, collection and documentation of intangible cultural heritage have also been carried out with the coordination and linkage in almost all most provinces and cities throughout the country with local budget or mobilized funds.
Inventory in order to identify intangible cultural heritage as a basis for linking conservation and promotion of cultural heritage with socio-economic development has obtained encouraging results. To date, all 63 provinces and cities have carried out the task and identified nearly 60,000 intangible cultural heritage of different types. This creates a basis for selecting outstanding heritage for preparation of nomination profile to the National Intangible Cultural Heritage List and facilitate the development and implementation of projects on sustainable tourism.
Up to now, 191 heritage of all seven types of intangible cultural heritage of ethnic groups living in all parts of the country are included in the National Intangible Cultural Heritage List by the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Specifically, by the end of 2016, 11 outstanding intangible cultural heritage of Vietnam were inscribed in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. 
Mechanisms and policy aiming to honor creators who master and transmit cultural heritage have been finalized in various forms, such as coordination with ministries to develop and implement Decree No. 62/2014/ND-CP issued by the Government on 25 June 2014 on Regulations on Awarding the title of "People's Artisans" and "Meritorious Artisans" in the field of cultural heritage and Protocol No.109/2015/ND-CP issued by the Government on 28 October 2015 on Support for People’s Artisans, and Meritorious Artisans having low income, in difficult situation to honor outstanding artisans in the field of intangible cultural heritage in Vietnam. Through the first round of award in 2015, 617 individuals were presented with the title of Meritorious Artisans by the State President. Seven of them, having low income in difficult situation, were entitled to assistance as regulated. In addition, intangible cultural heritage transmissions and training have been organized in many localities with excellent artisans as trainers to learners from all walks of life and ages.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has coordinated with the Ministry of Education and Training, the Central Committee of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union have paid attention to training and building lifestyle, ethics and good personality to young generation taking into account intangible cultural heritage values in schools and cultural institutions such as museums, cultural centers, and library. Mechanism and policies to promote heritage for tourism development have been developed and realized.
Cultural heritage in general, intangible cultural heritage in particular is special tourism resources, the foundation for tourism economy and has been harnessed as one of the key economic resources. It is noteworthy that the rich and diverse cultural treasure of Vietnam concentrates as clusters in the Northern Delta and the Mekong Delta, in the northern mountainous area and the Central Highlands, along the trans-Vietnam highway near big cities and important international border gates, creating favorable conditions for the formation and organization of tourism centers in Vietnam. For this reason, Vietnam’s cultural heritage in general and intangible cultural heritage in particular has become one of the important tourist resources for tourism development in recent years. 
In general, encouraging achievements have been made in the protection and promotion of Vietnam’s cultural heritage. Many traditional industries and handicrafts have not only recovered but also have been developing strongly. Many traditional folk festivals have been reinstated and become unique traditional cultural activities, meeting the indispensable spiritual needs, contributing to enrich the spiritual life of the people. At the same time, they have made important contributions to effective tourism business and development.
In recent years, under the impact of the market mechanism and massive investment of many domestic and foreign organizations and individuals, quite a number of intangible cultural heritage have changed or been deformed. On the other hand, in the past time, although policies and measures have been issued by the State to preserve heritage, they have not been systematic resulting in limited usefulness. These constraints are also caused by the lack of synchronicity and ineffective state management of all levels and sectors. Therefore, in addition to undeniable achievements to honor and promote intangible cultural heritage, it is necessary to frankly acknowledge the fact that there are still many shortcomings and limitations in the development and implementation of mechanisms and policies in this area. Awareness of the significance of heritage and the responsibility of the entire society for cultural heritage are low. Challenges are facing several heritage. The relation between conservation and development, between modernization, urbanization and preservation of heritage has not been settled. Programs of action to protect and promote the values of UNESCO-inscribed heritage has not been seriously implemented to serve socio-economic development. Valuable intangible cultural heritage runs the risk of falling into oblivion due to lack of research and protection. 
Socio-economic development, especially the process of modernization, rapid urbanization and tourism development, has rapidly transformed labor structure, industry, occupation, and population resulting in social changes as well as impact on people’s lifestyle, way of thinking, traditional culture, heritage space and deforming heritage. Even some sensitive intangible cultural heritage can face depletion or disappearance.
In addition, inventory and documentation for protection have not been fully accounted for languages, scripts, folk knowledge, and social customs of different ethnicities. The State allocation and social investment funds for the preservation and promotion of intangible cultural heritage have fallen short of actual demand. Lack of guidance and management of the State in socialization of cultural activities has deviated heritage protection, leading to heritage abuse to practice superstition. Policies towards artisans and artists have been issued, but not implemented in time, particularly the policy towards outstanding artisans who master, protect and promote outstanding traditional intangible cultural heritage. The capacity of staffs in the management and preservation of the intangible cultural heritage in general and UNESCO-inscribed the intangible cultural heritage in particular is limited.


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