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Documentary Heritage in the Digital Age: Symposium and Consultation to Advance Access, Preservation and Cooperation in ASEAN+3 countries

Documentary Heritage in the Digital Age: Symposium and Consultation to Advance Access, Preservation and Cooperation in ASEAN+3 countries

First global event of its kind aims to develop action plan for implementation of landmark UNESCO Recommendation on documentary heritage

Much of Southeast Asia’s rich documentary heritage is at risk due to improper or inadequate safeguarding measures, or is not easily accessible to all citizens. UNESCO’s Recommendation concerning the Preservation of, and Access to, Documentary Heritage including in Digital Form, agreed to all by UNESCO Member States in 2015, deals directly with these challenges.

The Recommendation serves as the most up-to-date tool available to governments, museums, archives, libraries, the private sector and individuals working to preserve and provide access to the world’s documentary heritage.

The Recommendation has yet to be applied in the ASEAN countries, which is why UNESCO, with the generous support of the government of Malaysia, is holding an international symposium and consultation to support these countries in their efforts to adapt and apply this new instrument to their specific contexts and challenges.

WHAT: ASEAN+3 Symposium and Consultation for the Implementation of the UNESCO Recommendation on Documentary Heritage.


Symposium 8 May – Agenda

Consultation 9-11 MayAgenda

WHERE: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

All sessions of the symposium will be streamed live on UNESCO Bangkok’s Facebook page.

WHO: The symposium and consultation are organised by UNESCO, in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia, and in cooperation with the ASEAN Secretariat and is made possible through support from the Government of Malaysia via the Malaysia Funds-in-Trust (MFIT) under the Malaysia-UNESCO Cooperation Programme (MUCP).

The event will bring together experts, policy-makers, and representatives from archives, museums, libraries from ASEAN, China, Japan, Korea and Timor-Leste, to develop an implementation action plan for the Recommendation tailored to the region. 

For general enquiries and to RSVP for the Symposiuum contact Andrew Henderson, Communication and Information Unit, UNESCO Bangkok, a.henderson@unesco.org

For media queries, please contact, UNESCO Bangkok Media and Communications Officer, Noel Boivin,n.boivin@unesco.org

Social media:

Join us in promoting these aims by sharing the suggested posts below on your social media channels and/or by retweeting/sharing from our pages: @UNESCO_AsiaPac on Twitter and Facebook.com/UNESCOBKK

Hashtag: #MoWASEAN 


At the 38th Session of the UNESCO General Conference in Paris in 2015, 195 countries voted unanimously in favour of the introduction of a new UNESCO Recommendation on documentary heritage, including in digital form.

The Recommendation addresses both the technical and strategic issues that arise in the preservation and use of documentary heritage, providing practical, actionable recommendations that can be used by governments, memory institutes (archives, libraries, and museums), the private sector and individuals.

Given that the Recommendation is relatively new, and has yet to be applied in the region, UNESCO is supporting ASEAN+3 Members States and stakeholders in adapting this new instrument to the region’s contexts through this symposium and consultation, the development of the action plan and follow-up efforts going forward.

This will be the first global consultation on the implementation of this important Recommendation. The aim is to develop a UNESCO-ASEAN “action plan” for its implementation in the region in line with the recently signed MoU on cooperation between UNESCO-ASEAN.


A five-point UNESCO-ASEAN Member States Action Plan emerged from the consultation, identifying concrete actions that can be taken in the areas of documentary heritage identification, preservation and access, as well as policy measures to support efforts in these areas and opportunities for international cooperation. The Action Plan was adopted by delegates from 10 ASEAN Member States and Timor-Leste.

Action Plan:  http://bit.ly/2rlekp1 

ASEAN Member States, museums, archives and libraries will use the Action Plan to guide the implementation of UNESCO’s Recommendation at the national level.  The Action Plan will also help the ASEAN Secretariat, UNESCO, and the Memory of the World Committee for the Asia Pacific develop policies, trainings and projects to address challenges identified by member states. 

During the consultation, each ASEAN member state, along with Timor-Leste, China and Japan, gave an update on the implementation of the Recommendation in their respective countries, while also sharing opportunities and challenges for the preservation of and access to documentary heritage at the national level. 
The country presentations can be accessed here: http://bit.ly/2pPDGuR 

The training materials and presentations given during the symposium can be accessed here (http://bit.ly/2rlw1FA)  and the material for the consultation here (http://bit.ly/2rlmJcH).