AusHeritage and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Committee on Culture and Information (COCI) have now signed the Memorandum of Understanding that will allow both organisations to benefit from each other’s expertise and ultimately improve conservation and promotion of cultural heritage in the region.
Australian heritage experts and the Australian Government have welcomed the agreement, which was signed in Brunei on 22 March, 2003 by AusHeritage Chairman Vinod Daniel and ASEAN–COCI Chairman Tran Chien Thang. Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Alexander Downer MP, said the agreement was an endorsement of Australia’s important relationship with ASEAN.
“I know that AusHeritage has been very active in working in the region and I am delighted at this formalisation of its relationship with ASEAN. I fully endorse this MOU.”
Tom Harley, Chair of the Australian Heritage Commission, the Australian Government’s national advisory body on heritage, said the agreement showed the courage and conviction of both AusHeritage and the ASEAN Committee in doing everything to protect heritage in the region.
“The AusHeritage vision is one fired by a recognition of the value of heritage to national identity and culture and it is one that I know the ASEAN Committee shares. I have no doubt that through their work together, these two organisations will continue to set a standard for international cooperation in protecting important heritage sites.”
AusHeritage Chairman, Vinod Daniel, said the agreement would present AusHeritage members with increased opportunities to explore new and innovative ways of conserving heritage resources in ASEAN countries.
“Australian heritage practitioners are already well respected in the region because of their highly practical approach to resolving heritage issues, and their understanding of and commitment to Asian cultural heritage values,” he said. “The heritage industry has an important national role with respect to fundamental shifts in Australia’s future in the Asia-Pacific region and cultural collaboration provides a sustainable, non-threatening platform on which to build relationships in other sectors. At a time when managing cultural diversity is a key to world stability, it is important that countries work together to reflect on the past, share the present and preserve what we have for future generations.”
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