Intangible Cultural Heritage of Asia and the Pacific

Evening stage performance of Ratu Jaro Dance of Aceh (equivalent of Saman, but performed by girls) © Photograph by: Gaura Mancacaritadipura. 2019 Indonesian Heritage Cities Network

Indonesian Heritage City Network, a Good Example for Networking Activities among Local Governments to Safeguard ICH

The 2003 UNESCO Convention aims to engage governments in ICH safeguarding, with the widest possible collaboration of stakeholders such as communities, groups, NGOs, and where applicable, individuals1. In this context, the government ideally includes Central, Provincial or State, and Local (District of Municipal) governments. It is an important point that among these strata of governments, it is surely local governments that have the maximum direct interaction with and influence upon, the said communities, groups, and individuals through who are hoped to be encouraged to safeguard ICH in their respective places. The Convention also aims to identify and disseminate information regarding good safeguarding practices of ICH2. The Indonesian Heritage Network—Jaringan Kota Pusaka Indonesia (JKPI)—is a good example of networking among local governments for safeguarding ICH.
The Indonesian Heritage Cities Network is an inter-local government organization (not an NGO) that coordinates on a national level among cities and districts possessing varieties of natural and/or cultural heritage (tangible and intangible). JKPI aims to jointly safeguard natural and cultural heritage including ICH. JKPI was declared on 25 October 2008 in Surakarta City by twelve cities. One of the mayors who declared the establishment of JKPI was Ir. Joko Widodo, then Mayor of Surakarta and host of the meeting, (presently 7th President of the Republic of Indonesia.) As of the seventh National Working Meeting Karangasem, Bali in June 2019, JKPI has seventy member cities and districts. The objectives of JKPI are:

• To develop collaboration amongst cities (and districts) having
important natural and cultural heritage
• To develop collaboration for safeguarding heritage with
stakeholders
• To promote a role of communities in safeguarding heritage
and its positive development in social life
• To inventory the wealth of the heritage of the member cities/
districts of JKPI
• To develop an understanding of the diverse nature and
culture to strengthen the Unified State of the Republic
of Indonesia
• To be used as a vehicle for promoting existing heritage for
JKPI member cities/districts3

JKPI is a non-profit and independent organization, and is not intended to advance the interests of, or be affiliated with, any group or political party.
JKPI organizes national working meetings annually, and congresses every three years, hosted by one of the member cities or districts. So far, four congresses and seven national working meetings have been held. The next national working meeting in 2020 will be held in Siak, tentatively in September. Other meetings have and may be organized from time to time if deemed necessary by the member cities/districts. A Presidium Chairman is elected annually from among the member cities/districts4. The present Presidium Chair is the Head of Siak District, Drs. H. Alfedri, M.Si5. JKPI has its Secretariat office at Jalan Veteran No. 15, Jakarta Pusat. The Secretariat is headed by an Executive Chairman, Ir. Asfarinal ST. Rumah Gadang. JKPI official website is: http://www.indonesia-heritage.net
JKPI is dedicated to encouraging member cities and states to safeguard intangible, tangible, and natural heritage. It is true that in the UNESCO system, these three kinds of heritage are handled using different methodologies and under different international instruments and bodies6. However, as pointed out by Ir. Asfarinal at a conference held by ICHCAP in Penang in September 2017, intangible, tangible, and natural heritage may to a certain extent be mutually complementary in their safeguarding efforts. For example, performances or exhibitions of ICH at heritage sites may serve to enliven such sites and encourage their ongoing safeguarding. And similarly, ICH is encouraged by being performed or exhibited at sites associated with such heritage.

Artists from Surakarta City dressed in Wayang Orang (Javanese opera) costumes in the carnival parade © Photograph by: Gaura Mancacaritadipura. 2019 Indonesian Heritage Cities Network

 

Meetings of JKPI thus generally consisted of
• Carnival (ICH) parade and stage performances in which
member cities and districts display their performing arts,
traditions, festivities, etc.
• Exhibition booths for the display of products, handcrafts,
cuisine, and culture of member cities/districts
• National or international seminar for sharing information
and encouragement for safeguarding heritage by recognized
experts and relevant officials
• Discussion and adoption of relevant resolutions and handing
over the presidium chair to the next host city/district
• Informal discussions, meetings, and networking among mayors/
district heads/local government officials present
• Visits to heritage sites
According to its mandate, ICHCAP has a particular focus
on information and networking related to ICH. In consideration
of similarities in purpose between ICHCAP and JKPI, it
is presently being considered to sign an MoU between the two
organizations for collaborating and sharing information and
networking for safeguarding ICH.
It is hoped in the future that JKPI may be more active
in safeguarding ICH in the
Asia-Pacific region in collaboration
with ICHCAP.

 


NOTE

1. UNESCO 2003 Convention, Articles 11 and 15
2. UNESCO 2003 Convention, Article 18
3. Articles of Association of JKPI 2008 as amended 2018
4. Articles of Association of JKPI, ibid
5. Decision of the IVth Congress of JKPI,
Surakarta, June 2018
6. Inter alia, UNESCO 1972 Convention on World Cultural
and Natural Heritage, UNESCO 2003 Convention on
the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage,
ICOMOS, IUCN