In Southeast Asia, there are currently 30 inscriptions on the MoW International Register, recognized for their global significance. However, until now, no data had been collected on their state of preservation and accessibility to the public. With the aim to address these issues, UNESCO Bangkok Office with the support of the Japanese Funds-in-Trust (JFIT) initiated a pilot survey in order to analyse the MoW inscriptions from Southeast Asia.
The survey had a high completion rate, with information received from 28 inscriptions, that resulted in the State of Preservation Report for Southeast Asia 2020 providing interesting findings with recommendations to be considered.
In terms of the type of memory institutes holding the MoW inscriptions in Southeast Asia, 34% are libraries, 30% are archives, 15% are archaeological sites, and 12% are museums. The high number of MoW inscriptions at archaeological sites can be attributed to stone inscriptions, which are a prevalent form of documentary heritage in Southeast Asia.
In relation to preservation, UNESCO and Memory of the World Committee for Asia and the Pacific (MOWCAP), along with stakeholders and the private sector, as stated in the conclusions of the report, should leverage efforts to mobilize funding and collaboration to improve serious concerns related to the environment and tropical weather in the region that are highly affecting the MoW collections. Trainings should also be developed to help address management, preservation, disaster risks issues and the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.
The results of the survey related to access suggest that financial and technical support is needed to ensure that all MoW collections are digitised and made available for the public in line with 2015 UNESCO’s Recommendation on Documentary Heritage which is available in several languages of Southeast Asia and promotes among others the principle of open access. Further work in promoting open access licenses is required, in particular with the use of Creative Commons copyright licenses.
When addressing the issue of outreach, the report recommended that custodians of inscriptions who do not have a logo should request it to UNESCO Secretariat in order to use their logos according to the guidelines. In fact, it is a key aspect to mobilize funding and raise the visibility of collections to internal and external stakeholders. Training on social media to enhance the visibility and communications around these inscriptions could also be enhanced.
UNESCO established the Memory of the World Programme in 1992 to facilitate preservation of the world’s documentary heritage, assist with universal access to it and increase awareness of the existence and significance of documentary heritage. UNESCO would like to thank all the custodians of the MoW inscriptions for their time to complete the survey and for providing valuable information.
For more information, access the State of Preservation Report for Southeast Asia 2020.
Some interesting results extracted from the report:[Read more…]