UNESCO Partners Digital Firm On Documentary Heritage

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The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) says it is partnering with a United Kingdom based company, Digital Preservation Coalition on safeguarding documentary heritage of the country for sustainable development.
The Programme Specialist, Memories of the World (MoW), UNESCO Dr Banda Fackson, made this known at the ongoing workshop with the theme: “Documentary Heritage for Sustainable Development in Africa”, held from June 25 to June 27 in Abuja.
The workshop is aimed at preserving and providing access to documentary heritage including in digital form and has 27 countries in participation.
Fackson said that providing access to information would enable an effective preservation of African heritage as part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda of 2030.
He said that African heritage was at risk of extinction, adding that the continent ranked the least on inscriptions of the MoW’s register.
According to him, sufficient knowledge on the history of any nation will enable it take meaningful steps for development in the future.
“UNESCO through its archives unit is digitising UNESCO’s documents and this is huge number of documents, photographs of all files. This shows we are leading by example.
“We are also working with several other partners to develop training manuals on digitisation. We are working with Digital Preservation Coalition to come up with a guide on digital preservation.
“The focus is to make sure that the documents that are in danger are somehow preserved through digitisation and by so doing we are enhancing the access to them.
“If we don’t have sufficient knowledge of the documentary heritage that exists, it simply means that we do not know who we are and we lose a sense of shared identity.
“This is important to promote development. Development is about all the things that are encapsulated in the 2030 agenda for sustainable development,” he said.
Fackson said that the content of the SDGs focused on protecting fundamental freedoms and enhancing public access to information.
According to him, documentary heritage contains the kind of information needed for sustainable development.
He, however, recalled that UNESCO’s member states made recommendations in 2015 to identify, preserve and promote universal access to documentary heritage.
The programme specialist said that the recommendations required developing an enabling policy within which documentary heritage could be preserved and create a framework for national and international cooperation.
He added that the 27 countries were strategising and building capacity toward the implementation of the recommendations.
Mr Ydo Yao, the Regional Director of UNESCO said the agency was leveraging on the instrument of Information Communication Technology (ICT) to preserve heritage at the national level.