Why we should celebrate SI National Archives milestone achievement

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By Gary Hatigeva

THE National Archive of Solomon Islands (NASI) is amongst two Pacific Island nations that now have sections from its collection of historical documents approved for safekeeping in one of the world’s largest archiving programmes, the Memory of the World for Asia and Pacific (MOWCAP) Register.

This was declared following the MOWCAP Secretariat’s 8th General Assembly Meeting in South Korea’s Gwangju City, late last month.

In a low key ceremony, marking the achievement, Minister for Culture and Tourism Bartholomew Parapolo proudly announced to the local media and stakeholders, the inscription of the Solomon’s World War II Records in the global system, something he described as a milestone achievement for the country.

In an official statement, NASI explained that because of its rich heritage and significance to the nation and the world, the institute decided to nominate the World War II Records to be inscribed in the UNESCO Register programme.

“The WWII Records are the Administrative records created during the time of the war and the aftermath of the war.

“These documents are of immense significance to the Solomon Islands, Pacific region, the Japanese, the United States and the British Colonial history, and the world generally,” the statement explains.

Speaking during yesterday’s occasion, NASI Supervising Director, Mrs Margret Inifiri revealed that amongst 10 nominations that were voted on during the recent General Meeting, Tuvalu and Solomon Islands were the only Pacific Island countries that were voted for inscription, while the rest were from Asia.

She explained that to make it in is not that easy, and Solomon Islands is very fortunate to have its nomination considered and voted on.

When questioned on the process of getting recognition for inscription, Inifiri further explained that nominations are to be submitted to the MOWCAP Secretariat, which then go before a Sub-Committee for indepth research and assessment.

The Sub-Committee will then make the recommendations for the Assembly to vote on to be inscribed in the MOWCAP Register.

Meanwhile, the institute in its official statement added that as for the NASI’s nomination, it was submitted to the MOWCAP Secretariat in 2016, where training was provided by the UNESCO for nominator, where they were assisted and were guided by experts from the Secretariat of their prescribed format.

“E-copies of nominations were submitted to the Secretariat as they have biennial intakes. Nominations then goes before the Register Sub-Committee (RSC) which undertakes initial in-depth research and assessment of nominations.

“The RSC makes recommendation, referrals or rejection and to the nominations. NASI’s nomination was recommended for inscription to the Memory of the World for Asia and Pacific Register to be voted on during the MOWCAP General Meeting,” the statement adds.

NASI was represented by Inifiri who according to the statement, did a presentation on the nomination before the 8th General Assembly before it was voted for it to be inscribed in the Memory of the World for Asia and Pacific.

But when questioned on the beneficial aspect of being part of the Register, the NASI Supervising Director pointed out that by having the WWII Records inscribed, it means that UNESCO has said that these documents are significant to the World.

And inscription also gives one the right to use the MOWCAP (UNESCO) logo when it is directly associated with the inscribed documents (eg in an exhibition).

“Inscription to the register is also useful if you are applying for funds associated with the care and accessibility of the inscribed collection,” the excited Director explained.

On the question of rights or ownership status over the inscribed documents, the NASI statement clarified that they (documents) remain under NASI ownership.

“However, MOWCAP will take opportunities to highlight the inscription so that the world is aware of the significant documents held at National Archive of Solomon Islands. Eg news items, Facebook page, Instagram and website, and the documents will be permanently on the MOWCAP register.

“The only reason to remove them from the register would be if MOWCAP became aware that the descriptions, preservation and access to the inscribed documents was not consistent with information provided on the nomination,” the NASI statement further clarifies.

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