A nation is known, recognized and distinguished among the world nations by certain characteristic features. The highest and the greatest of these features is culture.

HEYDAR ALIYEV
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Hearings on draft law on Intangible Cultural Heritage

On February 28, the Committee on Culture of Milli Majlis, the Ministry of Culture, and the Intellectual Property Agency jointly participated in public hearings of the draft law on Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Ganira Pashayeva, the chairperson of the Committee on Culture, welcomed the attendees and emphasized that the Azerbaijani people have a rich cultural heritage and the preservation and promotion of intangible and tangible cultural heritage have a special place in the cultural policy of the state. Pashayeva also noted the country's commitment to cultural policies and highlighted the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev in conducting fundamental reforms in the field of culture as well as the corresponding efforts made towards protecting and advancing the country's national and moral values.

The speaker drew attention to Azerbaijan's membership in the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2003 and credited First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva for her exceptional role in safeguarding both tangible and intangible cultural heritage. Due to her efforts, a number of cultural heritage samples of Azerbaijan have been nominated, included in appropriate UNESCO lists, and safeguarded as part of the world's heritage. The speaker also acknowledged the commendable activities of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and its president, Mehriban Aliyeva, in this regard.

Ganira Pashayeva viewed the public hearing as a sign of parliamentary support for the head of state's considerate approach to this field. Pashayeva expressed her appreciation to Sahiba Gafarova, the Speaker of the Milli Majlis, for her support in ensuring the event was held at a high level.
The chairperson emphasized that the legal protection of the intangible cultural heritage of the Azerbaijani people is one of the key objectives of the national security concept. According to her, the Law on the Legal Protection of Azerbaijani Folklore Expressions, which has been incorporated into the national legislative system, provides legal safeguards for the protection of intangible cultural heritage at the national level. However, given the ongoing discussions and documents adopted by UNESCO on the protection of intangible cultural heritage in recent years, it is necessary to enhance the national legislation in this area.

Following this, Ganira Pashayeva emphasized the significance of the draft Law on Intangible Cultural Heritage, which was put forward for discussion. She pointed out that the primary objective of the new draft law is to regulate relationships in the areas of creation, discovery, collection, research, promotion, use, and protection of intangible cultural heritage in the country. It was reported that the submitted preliminary draft comprises 4 chapters and 14 articles. The document explains a number of specific concepts, the categories of intangible cultural heritage, the scope of the law, and current legislation in the field of intangible cultural heritage. The draft also defines the goals, main directions, tasks of the state, and the mechanisms for regulating intangible cultural heritage.

The document covers various aspects, including the creation of the State Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage Samples and its digital maintenance, guidelines for using samples of intangible cultural heritage, the use of names pertaining to Azerbaijan's intangible cultural heritage included in UNESCO's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, and the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, funding for preserving intangible cultural heritage, and international collaboration.

During the event, the First Deputy Minister of Culture and Acting Minister of Culture, Adil Karimli, stated that the draft law covered the priority areas of state cultural policy. He spoke about the need to protect and preserve cultural heritage, establish legal frameworks, and improve the legislative base in the sphere of culture. He also highlighted the current situation in the field of culture, including the legislative framework, infrastructure, human capacity, and other issues. Karimli underscored the President's commitment to the field of culture. The speaker shared his views on the documents adopted for the development of this sphere and the projects implemented.

Adil Karimli noted that the Ministry of Culture has developed an action plan aligned with the State Strategy of Azerbaijani Culture for 2020–2040. According to him, systematic and focused efforts are carried out, and priorities are prepared in this direction. He also spoke about the restoration of our cultural and historical monuments in the liberated territories and stressed the importance of safeguarding and preserving these monuments.

The deputy minister noted the importance of the draft law under consideration, stressing that the protection of intangible cultural heritage is one of the priorities of our culture, and legal regulation of this area is of paramount importance. He emphasized that the document will serve to protect our national cultural heritage.

Then Kamran Imanov, Chairman of the Intellectual Property Agency, made a speech at the event. He introduced his book titled The Concept of Intangible Cultural Heritage and its Use and talked about the importance of preserving samples of intangible cultural heritage, traditional culture, and traditional knowledge.

Fazil Mustafa, deputy chairman of the Committee on Culture of the Milli Majlis, members Sabir Rustamkhanli, Nizami Jafarov, Razi Nurullayev, Aziz Alakbarov, Novruzali Aslanov, Javanshir Feyziyev, Ulviya Hamzayeva, head of the Social Legislation Department of the Parliament Apparatus Adil Valiyev, General Director of the Folklore Institute of ANAS Mukhtar Imanov, Chairperson of the Pearl of the World Music Treasure-Mugham Public Union Nuriya Huseynova, founder of the Cultural Development and Dialogue Public Union Rena Mirzazade also took part in the discussion on the topic.

The speeches highlighted the significance and appropriateness of the submitted draft, underscoring the necessity of preserving national cultural heritage. Furthermore, views were exchanged on the current state of the cultural domain and the measures to be taken for its development.

The First Deputy Minister of Culture Adil Karimli and Chairman of the Board of the Intellectual Property Agency Kamran Imanov shared their thoughts and addressed some of the raised issues.

Ganira Pashayeva, the chairperson of the committee, concluded the hearing by remarking that the discussions were productive and valuable ideas were shared.

The event was attended by members of the Committee on Culture of the Parliament Ulviyya Aghayeva, and Mikhail Zabelin, representatives of relevant institutions, representatives of civil society institutions, and other officials.

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