UNESCO Banner

CULTURE

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

UNESCO signs landmark USD 2.8 million project with the Government of Punjab

A project has been signed by UNESCO and the Government of Punjab on the 19th of February, 2018 at Wazir Khan Mosque. With the financial support of the World Bank, under the Punjab Tourism for Economic Growth Project (PTEGP), UNESCO has signed the component of the "Protection and Promotion of Cultural Heritage of Punjab for Sustainable Tourism and Economic Growth".

This is an opportunity to promote Pakistan as a region where people of various religions and cultures can congregate to reminisce and relive their shared history. Sikhism, Buddhism, and Hinduism all have spiritual significance that is grounded in Pakistan. According to a recent study conducted by the World Bank, it is estimated that Sikh and Buddhist tourism alone could generate PKR 20 billion per annum and have the ability to generate 40,000 jobs every year.

In line with UNESCO's mandate, the project aims to promote the effective management of tourism to cultural/heritage of religious interests. The overall goal is to foster tolerance and peace by raising cultural awareness and respect for diversity, while implementing effective cultural heritage and tourism management policies and plans through institutional reform.

The project will focus on several sites of religious importance, including the Hindu temple of Katas Raj, two Gurdwaras- Rori Sahib and Sacha Sauda, and finally, the Sufi shrines in Uch Sharif. In addition, Lahore and Taxila Museum will also be worked upon through the creation of site management plans.

In addition to creating site management plans, the project takes a community-centered approach within the framework of this project, through capacity-building of communities surrounding the sites, promoting respect for cultural diversity through education, and providing support to the current custodians of the sites through training- all the while, maintaining the sanctity and religious value of the sites through consultation with key stakeholders in the religious communities.

The chief guest Malik Nadeem Kamran, Minister for Planning & Development, expressed the government's commitment to strategically reform the tourism sector of Punjab, providing state-of-the-art tourism services across the province in conjunction with the World Bank and UNESCO, while also mobilizing private investment in the tourism sector, specifically targeting heritage tourism to promote a pluralistic image of the country.

Ms. Vibeke Jensen, Representative/Director of UNESCO Pakistan said in her speech at the event, "For UNESCO the beauty of this project is the holistic approach it has adopted by bringing together the economic and livelihood dimensions with social cohesion objectives and the fostering of respect for cultural and religious diversity. We firmly believe that it is high time for Pakistan to use its incredible cultural heritage to promote sustainable development in all its dimensions: be it: economic, social, environmental or peace. This project is exactly about that and as such a very good example of an initiative to translate the sustainable development goals into reality".