Unesco, Kerala government agree to reinvigorate Spice Route Project

Unesco will cooperate with the Kerala Government to promote heritage projects as part of the Spice Route project in the state.

Published: 22nd February 2019 05:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd February 2019 05:10 AM   |  A+A-

spices, chilli powder, pepper
Express News Service

KOCHI: Unesco will cooperate with the Kerala Government to promote heritage projects as part of the Spice Route project in the state. A delegation from Kerala held a meeting with Unesco officers in New Delhi the other day in which representatives of 10 foreign countries also attended.

The delegation from Kerala comprised Finance Minister Thomas Isaac, Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran, Tourism Secretary Rani George, Kerala Tourism head P Bala Kiran, Muziris Heritage Project (MHP) MD Nowshad P M, MHP consultant Benny Kuriakose and Kerala History Research Council chairman P K Michael Tharakan.

The delegation held a meeting with Eric Falt, Director and Unesco Representative for Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka. The meeting was attended by ambassadors and representatives of Netherlands, Portugal, Myanmar, UK, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Indonesia and China.

“It was a fruitful meeting as the Unesco agreed to cooperate with us in developing and promoting the Spice Route project. Unesco will cooperate with various programmes to be organised as part of the Spice Route project which intend to promote the heritage and culture of the state. It will facilitate knowledge sharing and research activities with other countries which had historical trade links with Kerala,” MHP MD P M Nowshad said. 

As Kerala is promoting heritage tourism, the collaboration of Unesco will benefit the state immensely. The Netherlands has promised to collaborate in the development of Alappuzha heritage project. Researchers from Kerala can associate with experts in the Netherlands. Similarly, assistance will be provided to digitise archives related to heritage projects in the state. 

“We are not looking for any financial aid from Unesco. However, technical assistance by facilitating the involvement of foreign nations in preserving heritage sites and managing the archives of the state will help the project. It will also help in expanding research activities conducted on Kerala heritage to foreign nations,” he said.

Spice Route international conference in August 
At the meeting, a decision was taken to organise the international conference in Kerala from August 7 to 9. The conference will be attended by scholars from 29 nations which had historical connection with Kerala. “The venue of the project is yet to be finalised. It may take place in Kochi or  Alappuzha. During the conference, the delegates will be taken to Muziris and Alappuzha heritage sites,” a Tourism Department officer said.

It was in 2014 the Unesco signed an MoU with Kerala Tourism Department to launch the Spice Route Project. However, other than organising a culinary event in 2016, the project did not progress much. It was in recent years, the government decided to rediscover the Spice Route Project by partnering with the Unesco.

Representing Kerala
The delegation from Kerala comprised Ministers Thomas Isaac and Kadakampally Surendran, Tourism Secretary Rani George, Kerala Tourism head P Bala Kiran, Muziris Heritage Project MD Nowshad P M, MHP consultant Benny Kuriakose and Kerala History Research Council chairman P K Michael Tharakan.

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