INTACH in coordination with Embassy of India Kathmandu, successfully organized an one-day seminar on 22 January 2023, as a part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, on “Knowledge Sharing on Conservation of Natural and Cultural Heritage” which was conducted inside the embassy premises in Kathmandu and attended by a wide range of audience from both the countries.
The field of cultural heritage conservation is constantly changing, the seminar intended to disseminate knowledge that has been developed over at the time through real time experiences while sharing the translation of research into practice-based interventions undertaken by a panel of acclaimed experts. It was focused at strengthening connections between research, policy and practice across sectors, disciplines, and countries, attempting to harness the benefits of research and development in cultural heritage sector in both the countries. This seminar further brought experts from both countries together at a common platform to share real time experiences from the conservation field with an expectation that these vivid experiences and learnings can form the basis of development of enriched knowledge base for future of conservation.
The event was jointly inaugurated by Hon’ble Mr. Sudan Kirati, Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), Government of Nepal, Hon’ble Ms. Sushila Shreepali, Minister of State for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoS, MoCTCA), Government of Nepal and His Excellency Mr. Naveen Srivastava, Ambassador of India to Nepal. Mr Kirati appreciated the collaborative efforts of the Government of India and INTACH in restoring Nepalese Cultural Heritage. Ms. Shreepali expressed her gratitude to INTACH for helping Nepal with their expertise in Retrofitting and Rehabilitation of Post earthquake sites.
The technical sessions encompassed presentations from a diverse range of professionals. Mr Koshnath Adhikari(Project Director, CLPIU (B & H)) briefed the audience on “Restoring Nepal’s Heritage with special focus on Nepal Earthquake damage along with the introduction of the MoU signed between the Government of India and Nepal focusing on the Project Modalities in the cultural heritage sector and the project status till date. Mr Benny Kuriakose(Conservation Professional and AH advisory -Chairman) presented on the topic : Traditional Knowledge in Conserving Timber Heritage Structures, through which he explained timber as a construction material used, its decay mechanism and the best practices in timber conservation. Mr Nilabh Sinha (Principal Director, INTACH MH Division) showcased the Best Practices in Art and Material Heritage Conservation focusing on the conservation work that has been carried out by INTACH under the Art & Heritage Division and INTACH Conservation Institutes while Mr Manu Bhatnagar (Principal Director, Art and Material Heritage Division) briefed on Natural Heritage, Ecosystem, Biogeographic Diversity and Cultural Services, disseminating the message that culture thrives when nature thrives. Mr Arnaud Cauchois (Country Director, Asian Development Bank) shared his real time experiences working in Nepal on the project titled “Bagmati River Health Restoration” which is helping Nepal improve water resources management at the Bagmati River Basin.
The technical sessions were ended by a Panel Discussions on Challenges and Opportunities of Conservation in Nepal including Question & Answer Sessions. The Panel discussions were attended by experts from both nations as well as Nepalese government officials. Many interesting questions shared by the audience also surfaced. Most of the questions were directed towards the documentation and awareness of the Heritage Conservation.
As this seminar was overarching an opportunity for INTACH and other organizations working in the field of culture to share experiences that have been gained through years of practice, several practicing Art Conservators and Museologists from local institutions and museums, representatives of Contractors teams, Government of Nepal officials from Department of Archaeology, Central Level Project Implementation Unit (CLPIU: Ministry of Urban Development), National Archives, Department of Urban Development and Building Construction (DUDBC) marked their presence in the event. Delegates from other government agencies were also present, including Kathmandu Municipality (KMC) represented by Ms Sunita Dangol : Deputy Mayor, Mr Suresh Adhikari : Secretary representing Culture division (Ministry of Culture, Tourism & Aviation) and Department of Urban Development and Building Construction (DUDBC) represented by Mr Surendra Mohan Shrestha (Director General). In addition to the above representatives from International Organizations like UNESCO and ADB also graced the occasion.