Abu Dhabi: Intangible register launched to preserve UAE's culture, heritage

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Dubai - The project is still in the pilot phase and is expected to be rolled out in January


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Sun 17 Oct 2021, 4:18 PM

Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT — Abu Dhabi) has launched an intangible heritage register to record all the information related to the UAE’s culture and heritage.

Intangible heritage consists of non-physical intellectual wealth, such as folklore, customs, beliefs, traditions, knowledge, and language. Intangible cultural heritage is considered by member states of Unesco in relation to the tangible World Heritage, focusing on intangible aspects of culture

Nawwaf Al Harmi, adoption lead at DCT — Abu Dhabi, said the initiative is aimed at protecting the country’s heritage and culture. Hence, all the elements that fall under the intangible heritage within the UAE will be registered.

“We have started with 25 elements now and aim to have 1,800 by the end of 2022. It will be an official source for researchers, event management firms and conferences to be used on day-to-day related events,” Al Harmi told Khaleej Times on the sidelines of Gitex Global on Sunday.

The elements are placed under six categories – traditional and oral expressions; traditional art performance; social practices ceremonies and celebrations; knowledge and practices related to nature and the universe; heritage and cultural sites; and skills associated with traditional handcraft.

“We are aiming to have more than 1,800 elements by the end of 2022 following the standards set by Unesco. It includes written and video elements. We worked with other entities in the UAE to ensure that elements are accurate. We keep it open for the research,” he said.


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In addition, the DCT — Abu Dhabi is also deploying an artificial intelligence system for smart inspection schedules of hotels and tourism establishments across the emirate.

“The department will use smart data which will be made available to inspectors for inspection purposes. Whatever complaints that we receive from the call centre, emails and other sources will automatically go to the system. The system will help reduce unnecessary visits and focus on the pinpoints or main issues when it comes to inspecting tourism establishments,” said Al Harmi.

Launched two months ago, the project is still in the pilot phase and is expected to be officially rolled out in January.

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