Focus on SAARC’s common cultural heritage

Dance SAARCAfter a gap of nine years, culture minister from SAARC nations will gather in New Delhi from September 24-26 to discuss joints efforts to preserve the region’s collective heritage.

The meeting is expected to explore possibilities of declaring the year 2016-17 as the SAARC Year for Cultural Heritage, and the formation of a new SAARC body, called the SAARC Heritage Committee.

The meeting is being held in Delhi at a time when the new Indian government has been pushing for enhanced economic and cultural relations among SAARC nations.  Six of the seven states invited to the event have already confirmed that they will be attending the event. Pakistan is expected to confirm soon.

The SAARC Heritage Committee, much like the UNESCO, will “cover all aspects of heritage management”, and function under the auspices of SAARC Cultural Centre, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The Third Meeting of SAARC Cultural Ministers will also discuss the potential of holding SAARC cultural festivals in member states, cooperation in areas of libraries, archives, museums, performing arts and conservation activities.

India’s delegation leader, as the host nation, will be elected as the chairman of the meeting, as per the SAARC practice.

Shripad Yesso Naik, India’s Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Culture and Tourism, is expected to head the meeting.

The delegates will also be taken on day-long trip to the iconic Taj Mahal where they will witness a cultural programme organised by the Archaeological Survey of India. The event is also the prelude to a three-day

SAARC Dance Festival in Delhi from September 26-28.