UNESCO tag for Srinagar | Month-long commemorative events to be held: Srinagar Mayor

A moment to rejoice: Artisans, stakeholders
UNESCO tag for Srinagar | Month-long commemorative events to be held: Srinagar Mayor
He added that the inclusion of Srinagar in the creative city network for the arts and crafts has paved a way for the city to represent its handicrafts on the global platform through UNESCO.Special arrangement

Srinagar: Srinagar Mayor Junaid Azim Mattu on Tuesday said that Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) will be organising month-long events to celebrate UNESCO tag to Srinagar under the Crafts and Folk Arts category, while other stakeholders and artisans said this recognition was a “moment to rejoice”.

Addressing media persons at SMC headquarters, the Mayor who was flanked by SMC Commissioner Athar Aamir Khan and Director Handicrafts Mahmood Shah, said that in a major recognition of the crafts and arts of Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar city has been chosen under the UNESCO creative city network under the Crafts and Folk Arts Category.

He added that the inclusion of Srinagar in the creative city network for the arts and crafts has paved a way for the city to represent its handicrafts on the global platform through UNESCO.

“We have decided to organise month-long events to celebrate this historic development. During these celebrations, we are going felicitate artisans in Srinagar and also to make them understand the importance of this achievement,” the Mayor said.

He added that events will also be held in educational institutions and other social places to make the people awareabout this development.

Mattu said that serious efforts had been made by them to ensure that Srinagar achieves this milestone.

“We have achieved this milestone after a lot of hard work and dedication. We have been pursuing this since 2018 and finally after the hard work and serious efforts by SMC Commissioner and other officers concerned, we have finally achieved the milestone. It is the biggest day for the whole Srinagar,” Mattu said.

Matu said “Srinagar expresses gratitude to UNESCO for including the city in the prestigious list of UNESCO Creative Cities Network”.

The Mayor said Srinagar is world-over known for its long and illustrious tradition of the crafts and folk art. Crafts like Pashmina shawls, wood carving, paper mache, kani shawl, sozni, khatamband and hand knotted carpets are iconic crafts of the city.

“The inclusion of Srinagar City in UNESCO Creative Cities Network will help in further development and promotion of our arts and crafts,” he added.

The Mayor of Srinagar congratulated the citizens of Srinagar city especially the professional craftsmen, artisan and artists whose hard-work has got its due and has been recognised, he said.

Mattu also lauded the role played by Principal Secretary R&B Shailendra Kumar, Principal Secretary Industries Ranjan Thakur, Commissioner, Srinagar Municipal Corporation Athar Aamir Khan, Director Industries and Commerce Mahmood Ahmad Shah, INTACH Kashmir led by Saleem Beg, Chief Town Planner Iftikhar Hakim, the teams at SMC, Srinagar Smart City Limited, J&K ERA and Handicrafts Department.

“We also express our gratitude to the Government of India and Indian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO for unwavering support and endorsement to the application filed by SMC for UCCN 2021 in May this year,” Mattu said.

SMC Commissioner, Athar Aamir said that the SMC's proposal for UNESCO tag was endorsed after hectic efforts. “We are working together to achieve more milestones in the future,” he said.

The SMC Commissioner added that this recognition will strengthen Kashmiri art and craft at international level.

Director Industries and Commerce Mahmood Ahmad Shah said Srinagar has made it to the elite list and inscription is the global recognition to the rich craft legacy of Srinagar.

Meanwhile, an official statement said the Dossier for the UNESCO creative cities network list had been prepared under the Restoration & Strengthening of Livelihoods component of the World Bank funded Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project. The preparation of the Dossier was started under Jhelum TawiFlood Recovery Project in the year 2018 and a consultancy namely (Intach- Drona JV) was hired for the purpose after undertaking the consultation process with all the concerned stakeholders like Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Department of Industries & Commerce, Department of Handicrafts, Artisans & Craftsmen, trade bodies etc

“It’s a moment of immense satisfaction for the artisan community as the enlisting of Srinagar in UNESCO Creative Cities Network would bring Srinagar on the international platform and expand markets for our crafts” says Mehmooda, an artisan associated with crewel cluster at Noorbagh, Srinagar.

“The designation of Srinagar City in UNESCO Creative cities would give a big push to marketing of Kashmir as a major tourist destination globally and it is expected that more and more tourists across would visit Kashmir in future and give a much needed flip to tourist industry in valley” said Ashiq Khurro associated with tourist industry

Dr Syed Abid Rasheed Shah, Chief Executive Officer JKERA/JTFRP said that it is a moment of immense satisfaction for all of us that only three cities at National level have made it to the UNESCO list and Srinagar is one of them” . He said that “Lieutenant Governor, Shri Manoj Sinha has taken a personal interest in the matter and it’s because of his guidance that this unique recognition has been achieved”.

CEO ERA/JTFRP added that under the World Bank funded, JTFRP efforts were being made vigorously since 2019 to bring our arts and crafts on the international platform so that our artisans and crafts get the credit and recognition. It has been a collective effort of the various departments with Dept. of Industries & Commerce playing the major role along with Srinagar Municipal Corporation, and Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project.

“It is very heartening for the entire World Bank team that Srinagar has been able to bag a position in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network list under the World Bank funded Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project” said Deepak Singh ,Deputy Team Leader World Bank for JTFRP

Iftikhar Hakim, Director, Planning & Coordination JTFRP said that it is a moment of rejoice for the all the citizens of Srinagar city and stakeholders particularly artisans and distinction has been achieved due to the tireless efforts of all the stakeholders who continued their hard work despite not being able to get to the list in our first attempt in 2019. “We reworked on the Dossier this year and redrafted Dossier had been submitted by the Srinagar Municipal Corporation. Hard work and perseverance of all the stakeholders has been paid in the end with the Srinagar finally making it to the coveted list” Iftikhar Hakim said.

Saleem Beg, Convener, INTACH private limited a consultancy which has prepared a Dossier said “Every City has its uniqueness in creative domain and UNESCO cities Network is an initiative to bring unique creative aspects on a global platform” He also said that under the Dossier we have made various commitments which are to be fulfilled and continuous assessment of these need to be followed up.

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