Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism on the Seven (7) Conventions .
The domestic ratification of the seven (7) Conventions of UNESCO on Culture Development was laid in Parliament on 18th November, 2014. The Rt Hon Speaker referred the Conventions to the Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism for consideration and report, pursuant to article 75 of the 1992 Constitution and Order 159 of the Standing Orders of the House.
The Deputy Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Hon Abla Dzifa Gomashie, the Vice-chair of the Ghana Culture Forum (GCF), the technical team from the Ministry and the National Commission on Culture and officials of UNESCO were in attendance to assist the Committee in its deliberations on the Conventions. The Committee is grateful to them for their inputs.
In its deliberations, the Committee availed itself of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana and the
seven UNESCO Conventions.
UNESCO was created in 1945, with the understanding that, World peace can be achieved, not only through political and economic agreement, but that peace must be established on humanity's moral and intellectual solidarity. It operates on four pillars and these are:
Mobilising for education so that every child, boy or girl, has access to quality education as a funda- mental human right;
Building inter-cultural under- standing, through protection for heritage and support for cultural diversity. World heritage sites of universal value were created to aid the process;
Pursuing scientific co-operation such as early warning systems for Tsunamis or trans-boundary water management agreement, to streng- thening ties between nations and societies; and
Protecting freedom of expression as an essential condition for democracy, development and human rights.
Ghana joined UNESCO on the 11th of April, 1958 and has since played significant roles in the affairs of the organisation. This is further buttressed by the fact that Ghana's Ambassador to Paris is a permanent Delegate to UNESCO.
The creation of a formal organisation to protect the world's cultural and natural heritage began in 1965, when the Johnson Administration of the United States of America, hosted a conference for the creation of a “World Heritage Trust”. This led to the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and
Natural Heritage, which was passed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 1972, and the creation of the World Heritage Committee in 1976.
Since the creation of the World Heritage Committee, a number of UNESCO Conventions have not been ratified by the Government of Ghana, (with the exception of the Convention on the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, (1972), and this unfortunately, has delayed development assistance in various areas. The Conventions that have not been ratified by Government of Ghana are the following:
i. Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (Paris, 17th October,
ii. Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (Paris, 20th October, 2005);
iii. Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict with Regula- tion for the Execution of the Convention (The Hague, 14th May, 1954);
iv. Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import , Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (Paris, 14th November, 1970);
v. Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage
(Paris, 2nd November, 2001);
vi. Convention for the Protection of Procedures of Phonograms against unauthorised Duplication of their Phonograms (Geneva, 29th October, 1971;
vii. UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegal Exported Cultural Objects (Rome, 24th June, 1995).
The ratification of the seven Conventions is a requirement of member States who have acceded to the Conventions. In view of this, UNESCO strongly encourages its member States to consider joining its international conventions for the protection of cultural heritage in its different forms, so that legal protection of cultural heritage is strengthened at the national level and developed uniformly at the international level, among State Parties.
Summary of the Seven (7) UNESCO Conventions
Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, Paris 17th October, 2003.
Intangible cultural heritage refers to the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills as well as objects, artifacts and cultural spaces associated with common groups and individuals as part of their cultural heritage.
This heritage is transmitted from generation to generation, and in most cases, is recreated in response to environmental changes. This provides the community with a sense of belonging- ness, identity and continuity.
The Intangible cultural heritage is manifested in the following domains:
i. Oral tradition and expressions such as our folklore, story-telling sections, including language as a vehicle for intangible cultural