Q1. What is UNESCO’s Memory of the World (MOW) Program?
A1. UNESCO’s Memory of the World (MOW) Program
UNESCO’s MOW Program (www.unesco.org/webworld/mdm) is an international cooperation strategy aimed at safeguarding, protecting and facilitating access to and the use of documentary heritage, especially heritage that is rare and endangered. UNESCO launched the Program in 1992 to guard against collective amnesia by calling upon the preservation of invaluable archive holdings and library collections all over the world and ensuring their wide dissemination.
The MOW Program recognizes documentary heritage of international, regional and national significance, maintains registers of it, and awards a logo to identified collections. It facilitates preservation and access without discrimination. It campaigns to raise awareness of the documentary heritage to alert governments, the general public, business and commerce to preservation needs and to raise funds.
Q2. How does UNESCO carry out the MOW Program?
A2. MOW Program – Program Structure and Management.
The MOW Program is administered by a three-tier committee structure: international, regional and national. The basic purpose of the structure is to ensure that member states are able to establish a mechanism at the national and regional levels in order to facilitate the final selection of the projects for the program.
International Advisory Committee (IAC)
The Director-General of UNESCO appoints an International Advisory Committee (IAC) with 14 members to guide the planning and the implementation of the MOW Program as a whole and make recommendations concerning fund-raising, the allocation of funds and the granting of the “Memory of the World” Label to the projects selected. The Director-General convenes the IAC in ordinary session every two years.
MOW International Register
A Memory of the World Register is being maintained to list all documentary heritage identified by the IAC as meeting the selection criteria for world significance.
Regional MOW Committee
Regional committees are cooperative structures that bring together people from two or more countries in order to pursue the Program’s objectives. Regional committees, such that of the Asia/Pacific Regional Committee (MOWCAP), provides a means of addressing issues which fall outside the practical scope of the IAC on the one hand, and of individual national committees on the other, and provide a mechanism for cooperation and complementation beyond the national level. Membership would normally include representatives of the national committees.
Terms of reference for regional committees will vary with need, but they could include:
- Maintaining a regional Memory of the World Register.
- Nominating groups of documentary heritage to the regional or international registers that cross national boundaries or are otherwise unlikely to be proposed.
- Encouraging cooperation and training within the region.
- Managing projects within the region.
- Supporting countries in the region that do not have national committees.
- Encouraging the establishment of national committees and coaching them.
- Region-wide coordination of publicity and awareness-raising
National MOW Committee
Member states are encouraged to set up MOW national committee to identify and selects projects, submit them to the IAC or its regional committee, follow them up and raise funds for their implementation. MOW national committee may set up their own National Register to identify the documentary inheritance of the nation.
Q3. What is the relationship between international, regional and national committees for the MOW Program?
A3. International, Regional and National Committees – Relationship
IAC is the main body responsible for advising UNESCO on the planning and implementation of the Program. It monitors the global progress of the Program, considers reports from regional committees and in turn advises these bodies on their functions and responsibilities.
National committees are autonomous entities with their own terms of reference and their own rules of membership and succession. To be entitled to use the Memory of the World names and logo, however, they must be accredited by their UNESCO National Commission, and will normally be expected to show an operational link with, and demonstrated support of, their National Commission for UNESCO and their regional MOW committee (if any).
Regional Committees are subsidiaries of IAC and are cooperative structures that bring together people from two or more countries from a region in order to pursue the Program’s objectives. Regional committees, such that of the Asia/Pacific Regional Committee (MOWCAP) provide a means of addressing issues which fall outside the practical scope of the IAC on the one hand, and of individual national committees on the other, and provide a mechanism for cooperation and complementation beyond the national level.
Q4. What is Memory of the World Committee for Asia/Pacific (MOWCAP)?
A4. Memory of the World Committee for Asia/Pacific (MOWCAP)
MOWCAP was set up in 1998 during its First General Meeting held in Beijing, China and is a subsidiary body of the International Advisory Committee (IAC) which itself was established in 1992 by UNESCO. MOWCAP embraces the Asia/Pacific region of 43 countries – one of the five UNESCO regions across the globe. MOWCAP is composed of UNESCO National Committee for MOW Program in the Asia/Pacific region. It is a cooperative structure through which people from two or countries in the region can be brought together to pursue the objectives of the MOW Program.
Q5. What are the roles played by MOWCAP in the MOW Program?
A5. Objectives and Functions of MOWCAP
- Promote, facilitate and monitor the MOW Program within the Asia/Pacific region
- Represent the region at the international level
- Support and facilitate nominations and encourage adequate representation of the region’s documentary heritage in the Regional and International MOW Registers
- Support and complement the work of the National MOW Committees
- Seek to raise awareness of the Program and of the documentary heritage in the Asia/Pacific region.
- Increase awareness of the importance of documentary heritage, improve its accessibility and use
- Promote resource sharing and optimal use of resources in the region
- Mobilize political, social and economic support for the MOW Asia/Pacific Program
- Encourage cross-country linkages of valuable collections of multi-country/cultural significance
- Encourage the establishment of National MOW Committees
- Maintain the Asia/Pacific Regional Register of MOW documentary heritage
- Discuss the selection criteria and any other matters determined by the International Advisory Committee and make recommendations
- Mobilize resources and supports for MOW projects/activities
MOWCAP also maintains an Asia/Pacific Regional Register of the MOW documentary heritage, a listing of documentary heritage of influence in the Asia/Pacific region. MOWCAP is the authority that approves inscriptions on the Asia/Pacific MOW Register. It assesses nominations from members through its Asia/Pacific Register Subcommittee against established selection criteria.
Q6. How can one prepare and submit nominations to MOWCAP?
A6. Preparing and Submitting Nominations
Nominations for the Asia/Pacific Regional MOW Register may be submitted by any person or organization, including government and non-government organizations. However, priority will be given to nominations made by or through the relevant National MOW Committee, or failing that, through the relevant UNESCO National Commission. Priority will also be given to documentary heritage at risk. Applicants are strongly advised to follow the prescribed procedures and format as laid down in the MOWCAP General Guidelines especially paragraphs 1.5 and 1.6 when preparing a nomination for submission. MOWCAP would also provide guidance on this regard.