New inscriptions to the Memory of the World Asia/Pacific Regional Register - Tuvalu
28 June 2018
The UNESCO Memory of the World (MOW) Programme is an international programme aimed at safeguarding, preserving and facilitating access to and the use of documentary heritage. The Programme includes the inscription of significant documentary heritage on national, regional and international registers.
The Memory of the World Committee for Asia and the Pacific (MOWCAP) is the regional forum for the global MOW Programme. Every two years, MOWCAP announces new inscriptions on the regional register of "documentary heritage of influence" in the Asia/Pacific region.
Ten new inscriptions to the MOWCAP register were approved at the MOWCAP 8th General Meeting held in Gwangju, Republic of Korea, from 29–31 May. Excitingly, two of those inscriptions were from the Pacific and were first-time inscriptions for both the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu. They were:
- SOLOMON ISLANDS: World War Two Records – British Solomon Islands Protectorate (BSIP) - The administrative records created during world war two and records of the aftermath of the war; and
- TUVALU: Agreements with Native Governments 1893–1916 - The Agreements with Native Governments are the only original documents that are evidence of when each of the Ellis Islands submitted to the British Empire.
In the article below, Noa Petueli Tapumanaia from the Tuvalu National Library and Archives talks about the process involved in their valuable collection to be recognised on the MOWCAP Register.
The wait is over and Tuvalu is now the latest new member of the MOWCAP family. It took the Tuvalu National Library and Archives four years to become familiar with the Memory of the World Programme and it significance importance to the preservation of Tuvalu documentary heritage.In 2015 through PARBICA 16th General Conference, I heard about the Memory of the World and was anxious to learn more about the programme. The same year Tuvalu was invited to the 1st Sub-Regional Consultation workshop conducted by UNESCO-Apia, held at the National Archives of Fiji. Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, and Tuvalu were participants in this consultation. It was in this consultation we first became interested in trying to get Tuvalu into the Memory of the World Programme.
Tuvalu National Library and Archives was invited to attend the 7th MOWCAP that took place in Hue, Vietnam in 2016. This was the first official MOWCAP meeting that Tuvalu was invited to, and I expressed Tuvalu's interest in becoming part of MOWCAP. We were very pleased with the answer, as MOWCAP indicated that it would welcome Tuvalu once the formation of Tuvalu National Memory of the World Committee was completed.
On the 22nd May 2018, the Tuvalu National Memory of the World Committee (MOWC) came into existence and was elected during the inaugural consultation to the formation of the Tuvalu Memory of the World Committee that was conducted by the Tuvalu National Library and Archives. In this consultation, the Chief Librarian and Archivist of the Tuvalu National Library and Archives was elected to be the Secretary of the Tuvalu Memory of the World Committee.
It took almost four years for the Tuvalu National Library and Archives to develop the Tuvalu nomination to the MOWCAP regional register. This nomination was an outcome of the capacity building workshop that was conducted by Korea UNESCO Commission in Fiji back in 2016. Given that Tuvalu MOWC has formed, the Secretary for Tuvalu MOWC sought approval from the Tuvalu MOWC for the nomination to be supported.
On the 30th of May 2018, history was made as the first nomination from Tuvalu "Agreements with Native Governments 1893-1916" were voted to be inscribed. As a Tuvaluan, I feel proud and emotional at the time of the announcement that Tuvalu nomination was inscribed. I would like to thank all those who have supported and provide assistance for Tuvalu to have the courage to work and make this nomination a success. Tuvalu Memory of the World will continue to work on more nominations, not only to our national register, but also to the regional and international register of the Memory of the World Programme.