By Abigail Chaponda in London, United Kingdom
Tourism and Arts Minister Hon. Charles Banda has said the preservation, practice and promotion of indigenous knowledge systems has become critical in contemporary times, especially in view of rapid technological advancements and globalisation trends.
And the Minister has said Zambia has taken a deliberate strategy to incorporate traditional medicines into the main system of care-giving.
Addressing a plenary session titled “culture and wellbeing” at the just ended 2018 Edinburgh International Culture Summit held in Edinburgh, Scotland, Hon. Banda said sovereign societies should embrace indigenous knowledge systems through indigenous local cultural practices as such efforts can go a long way in ensuring the health and wellbeing of the people.
And the Minister said the Zambian Government has recognised and acknowledge traditional medicines and therapeutic methods as being significant in the provision of health services.
“In the pursuit to embrace culture as means to wellbeing, you will agree with me that, a healthy society stands a better chance to wealth and prosperity. So, not only will our cultures provide us with aspects of entertainment but also a fundamental basis for the creation of health and wealth societies,” he said.
The Minister also said that the Zambian Government enacted the protection of traditional knowledge, genetic resources and expressions of folklore act, 2016 whose main aim is to protect the intellectual rights of intangible cultural heritage-based goods and services.
“In this regard, permits are required to be obtained from the patents and companies registration agency for exploring, accessing and using traditional knowledge, generic resources and expressions of folklore after written consent from the community that holds the resource. The community is not allowed to authorise anyone to access or use without permit,” he said
The Minister said Government encourages the practice and appreciation of culture by individuals and as a nation, adding that this desire is enshrined in the country’s national cultural policy.
He further said the government has gone a step ahead in ensuring the perpetuation of good cultural practices by partnering with UNESCO to establish an undergraduate program centered on Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH).