Mapping of Culture Assets in Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa and Punjab

Background and Context
Pakistan is bestowed with a rich and diverse cultural and natural heritage that very few countries of the world can boast of. But unfortunately, this treasure-trove has not been fully explored and what has been discovered suffers deterioration and damage due to lack of proper attention and care on the part of concerned authorities.

Against this backdrop, UNESCO Islamabad proposed a programme for mapping of the invaluable cultural assets of the country to provicde a scientifically researched database of both tangible and intangible cultural assets for Pakistan. This, UNESCO maintains, would be a vital step towards the management of cultural resources at the community level. The Government of Norway offered funds for this initiative, focusing on selected districts the North West Frontier Province to begin with. The selected districts were: Chitral, Swat, Bannu, Charsadda, Mansehra, Mardan and Peshawar.

Although the project officially moved off the ground in 2007, it was not until 2008 that the project gained considerable momentum, despite the volatile situation in parts of NWFP. The project was formally launched in Mardan and Peshawar in March 2008 and May 2008 respectively following its commencement in Chitral and Mansehra in 2007. Project Offices were established in these districts, and data collection was in full swing.

The Experts' Meeting held in Islamabad in May 2008, brought together several like-minded individuals and organizations, who exchanged experiences and shared information on the nature of work being undertaken by them. Many ambiguities regarding cultural mapping were clarified during the sessions and some competent partners were identified to join the mapping team. The federal and provincial governments were well represented and fully on board. Introduction of GIS for the data collection process was a new concept within the government circles and an interesting and rewarding accomplishment for the Project Team. Workshops on GIS conducted in Mansehra and Peshawar were largely attended by participants not only from other districts, but also from other provinces of Pakistan.

Data collection in Chitral was handed over to Aga Khan Foundation in August 2008, with the agreement that the standard procedures and methodology laid down by UNESCO will be followed by the implementing partners.

A GIS-compatible template was developed in for data collection and was successfully field tested. A database for cultural assets of NWFP was established in December 2008 at the Hazara University in Mansehra and is being gradually handed over to the end-users (Hazara University).

Given the deteriorating security situation in Swat and other adjoining areas, UNESCO and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Islamabad, mutually agreed to shift the project to the Punjab. Multan and Bahawalpur were the two districts selected for replication of project activities.

Through a process of inviting "call for proposals" Pervaiz Vandal and Associates (PVA) was selected as the partner to implement the project in Multan and Bahawalpur.

 To view a detailed project report click here

Cultural Resource Maps
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Project Strategies
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Activities with additional funds from Norway
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Image gallery
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