UNESCO-recognized World Heritage Sites in Bangladesh reflect the nation’s cultural heritage and identity, crucial for its preservation. These sites confront challenges like finances, awareness, urbanization, climate change, and legal issues, necessitating immediate action. Supported by the British Council, IID conducted a study titled “Cultural Heritage Protection of Bangladesh: A Scoping Study” to gain a comprehensive understanding of the current state and challenges.
To disseminate the study’s results and outline a clear strategy for tackling the challenges and the pressing need to safeguard Bangladesh’s cultural heritage sites, IID, in collaboration with the British Council, organized its 25th Policy Breakfast on ‘Preserving Bangladesh’s Cultural Heritage’. It was held on 1st October 2023, from 8:30 am to 10:30 am at Hotel Bengal Blueberry, Gulshan-2, Dhaka.
The aim was to involve diverse relevant stakeholders, including relevant Ministries, CSOs, Academicians and International Development Communities. The discussion at the event centred on documenting both tangible and intangible heritages, underscoring the significance of raising awareness about these invaluable treasures.
The discussion addressed several key issues. Starting with the need to prioritize infrastructure preservation overturning historical sites into museums and the need to revitalize historical sites while safeguarding artifacts in museums. They also explored the threats of climate change and pollution on heritage sites and the urgency of securing funds and support. This would require cross-ministry cooperation. Additionally, participants recommended considering archival safety and launching a mobile museum project in partnership with relevant organizations.
The event featured active participation from distinguished guests, including KM Khalid MP, the Hon’ble State Minister of Cultural Affairs, Nayoka Martinez-Bäckström, First Secretary, Environment and Climate Change Embassy of Sweden in Bangladesh, Susan Maree Vize, Officer-in-Charge, UNESCO Dhaka Office, Rafiq Azam, Architect, Shatotto Architecture for Green Living, Brennan Flanigan, Deputy Director of Public Engagement, U.S. Embassy, David Knox, Director Programme-British Council, and Tom Miscioscia, Director Bangladesh, British Council.
Syeed Ahamed, CEO of IID, moderated the Policy Breakfast. He was joined by AKM Mazharul Islam, a Research Fellow at IID and a Professor of Anthropology at Shahjalal University of Science & Technology.