LONDON: Saudi Arabia was elected Thursday as a member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee for the first time, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The Kingdom’s accession to the committee was confirmed during UNESCO’s eighth General Assembly in Paris, being held September 10-12.
The Saudi delegation in the French capital is headed by Princess Haifa bint Abdul Aziz Al-Muqrin, the Kingdom’s permanent representative to UNESCO.
The election puts Saudi Arabia in a select group of countries which maintain membership of the three basic committees at UNESCO — the Executive Council, the World Heritage Committee, and the intangible cultural heritage committee.
Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, Minister of Culture and Chairman of the National Committee for Education, Science and Culture, congratulated the Kingdom’s leadership on the accession.
The prince said the election reflected the international community’s confidence in Saudi Arabia and its commitment to protecting local culture and heritage, SPA reported.
“The Kingdom possesses an enormous stock of intangible cultural heritage in various villages, cities and regions, and we will work in the Ministry of Culture through the Heritage Authority to preserve and develop this rich national heritage, and support practitioners of it in all their specialties,” he said.
The prince also said the decision confirmed the comprehensive renaissance of Saudi culture in light of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plans, and how it will have a positive impact on the local culture.
International cooperation through a reputable organization such as UNESCO would raise the level of local cultural management to international standards, in addition to what it will contribute to the development of areas of intangible cultural heritage in Saudi Arabia, he added.