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Reggae rocks UNESCO


Reggae Music of Jamaica was today approved for inscription on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Culture Heritage deserving of being safeguarded for Humanity. The decision was taken at the 13th Session of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee now in session in the beautiful tropical Island state Mauritius, located in the Indian Ocean to the east of Southern Africa.

Culture Minister Olivia Grange who led the Jamaican delegation to the 13th Session was moved to tears given the overwhelming support received from the over 190 State Parties in attendance. It shows the popularity of Reggae Music across the world and the captivating influence of the Jamaican artform”.

The Minister went on to explain that “we were concerned as the UNESCO Evaluation Body recommended that our nomination be referred to the next round in 2 years. We were not willing to accept that and decided to journey to Mauritius to defend our position. On arrival in Mauritius and after speaking to the delegates from State Parties in attendance, the overwhelming sentiment was that it would be a travesty. In fact some persons were asking why did it take so long to seek this inscription. That gave us supreme confidence that we would be successful”.

When the Jamaica file was introduced on the floor, all 23 members of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) Committee expressed their support and asked the Jamaican Delegation to take the floor to clarify the concerns raised by the Evaluation Body. Jamaica made its presentation, the delegates showed there support and the  room erupted in estatic jubilation.  As delegates rushed across to congratulate  Minister Grange and other members of the Jamaican Delegation, amidst the strains of Marley’s ONE LOVE on the Conference Audio System, the Chairman of the Meeting was forced to announce a 15 minute break to allow delegates to bask in the inscription and offer congratulations on what all saw as a most deserving inscription and an historic occasion.

The Minister was quick to point out that it was a real team effort, involving members of the Jamaican Music Fraternity,  music icon Chris Blackwell and the team at Universal Music as well as Cedella Marley and the Bob Marley Foundation which gave permission for the use of Marley’s music and image, the team at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which lead our lobby efforts behind the scenes, and staff members at my Ministry and it’s Agencies, especially those at the Jamaica National Commission for UNESCO and the African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica.

In her appreciation speech after the”element was inscribed”  Minister Grange said that “Jamaicans have long recognized that this element {Reggae Music} means so much to so many, all around the world. With this inscription, Jamaica is of the view that it will invariably bring even more visibility to UNESCO’S Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and intangible cultural heritage as a whole, and demonstrates it’s global impact”.

See video of speech below:


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