Southern African Intangible Cultural Heritage Cooperation


The decision to set up the SAICH Platform was made by delegates of the countries participating in the on-going UNESCO/Flanders ICH Project during the UNESCO Workshop on “Strengthening Sub-regional Cooperation and National Capacities in Seven Southern African Countries for Implementing the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH)”, which was held at Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) from 24 - 26 February 2015. Regarding cooperation and coordination in the future, participants agreed that it was important to have an institutional base that would also provide secretariat and technical services for programs and projects of the sub-regional cluster. For this purpose, it was agreed that CUT would host the UNESCO ICH Platform for the seven countries in this grouping. The choice of CUT as the venue for the UNESCO/Flanders ICH Workshop was made after the University made a successful bid to host it.

The sub-regional ICH project is funded by the Flanders Government through the UNESCO funds-in-trust. The first phase was initiated during a joint workshop that was held in Harare from 18-20 March 2014. Thus the second workshop that was held at CUT in February 2015 was to conclude the initial phase and to consider the way forward after indications that the Flanders Government had been impressed with the achievements of the sub-region and were likely to provide additional funding for the project to continue. Indeed this is what has happened and two more projects have since been funded for the SAICH Platform grouping of seven countries by the Flanders Government for 2016-17 and for 2018-19.