NHIMBE TRUST in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Local Government Association and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) has engaged local authorities in the mainstreaming of cultural heritage as an agenda for sustainable development.
Nhimbe Trust is a non-profit arts advocacy organisation based in Bulawayo and has in the past facilitated several platforms for Zimbabwe’s professional non-profit arts organisations, artists and their partners to lobby the government and key policy makers on cultural policies.
This was due to lack of co-ordination to promote culture that led to the negligence of cultural tourism.
Unesco’s Multi-Sectoral Regional Office for Southern Africa Luc Rukingama said they were on the verge of mainstreaming culture for sustainable development.
“We remain committed to the integration of culture into sustainable development policies, including the new economic blueprint ZimAsset,” Rukingama said.
“We have also made efforts to scientifically and statistically prove that culture is an important contributor to economic development of any country. Rukingama said the involvement of local authorities in setting up cultural priorities and domestication of national cultural policies is important as they are the central players for supporting the creative industries at grassroots level.
“I strongly believe that in our cities and municipalities, culture can offer a solution in times of economic downturn because of its contribution to growth, jobs, social cohesion and thanks to its potential for fostering innovations,” he said.
Bulawayo mayor Martin Moyo said there was need for Bulawayo to engage arts and culture for development.
“Given the current economic pressure, it is more important than ever for Bulawayo to effectively harness its creative economy in the spirit of employment creation, economic development and social cohesion,” Moyo said.
“Bulawayo’s major raw material and resource is its tangible and intangible cultural heritage and now is the time to fully exploit this resource.”
However, professional, cultural and local authorities agreed that there was need to review national policy to promote cultural heritage at community level.