Kathmandu, Nov 4: The Embassy of Nepal in Brussels, Belgium, organized a Seminar on â€˜Cultural Heritage Management in Post-Earthquake Nepalâ€™ in collaboration with the European Institute for Asian Studies (EIAS) in Brussels on Tuesday.
Delivering his introductory remarks in the programme, Ambassador Ram Mani Pokharel said that Nepal was a treasure land of many heritage sites and monuments that functioned as the focal point of the countryâ€™s centuries-old cultural and religious traditions. He stated that, in addition to the tangible devastation or decimation of the monuments caused by the earthquakes in April and May this year, the intangible damage incurred including on peopleâ€™s ethnic and cultural identity and sense of historicity was incalculable, the Embassy of Nepal /Mission of Nepal to the EU, Brussels stated in a press release.
Ambassador Mr. Pokharel highlighted the importance the Post Disaster Needs Assessment accorded to the complete restoration and reconstruction of the damaged heritage. â€œWe know that there are no obvious â€˜set of pathwaysâ€™ to undertake reconstruction and restoration works. It is essential to take innovative approaches to rebuild and manage our heritage monuments and sites better and the Government of Nepal is committed towards that end. The whole nation is bound by a shared goal of reconstruction and resolve to rebuilding a more resilient Nepalâ€, he said. He also underscored the need for enhanced level of support, cooperation and technological expertise to rebuild our heritage sites.
The Seminar was chaired by Dr Alexander Spachis, EIAS Senior Associate and former Head of European Union Delegation to Nepal. Speaking on the theme of the programme, he said that cultural heritage management had become all the more important following the damage caused by the deadly earthquakes. He stated the people of Nepal were left with an enormous task of restoration and reconstruction and that rather than the lack of resources, their effective management was more critical.
The Seminar featured two paper presentations by Dr Maheswar Rupakheti, Group Leader, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Germany, and Dr Bal Gopal Shrestha, Research Fellow, International Institute for Asian Studies, The Netherlands.
Dr Rupakheti presented his paper on hazardous effects of air pollution in the heritage sites with particular focus on Lumbini. He argued that both local and â€˜trans-boundary sourcesâ€™ were the major causes of air pollution in Lumbini. Both the increase in demand of construction materials and relaxed environmental regulations in the aftermath of the earthquakes are alarming and hence our future heritage management activities need to be guided by the relevant safeguard measures, he said.
Similarly, Dr Shrestha made a presentation on Nepalâ€™s past post-disaster experiences in cultural heritage management and future priorities for the country. Underlining Nepalâ€™s past experiences of cultural heritage management following major disasters including the 1934 earthquake, he stressed the present need for proper coordination and mobilization of available resources. He also maintained that collective efforts and action-oriented programmes from all stakeholders were important.
The Programme was attended by the members of diplomatic corps, intellectuals, representatives from various international organizations, friends of Nepal, media persons and representatives of Nepalese organizations in Belgium.