The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has added Pakistan’s falconry cultural heritage to the representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. According to the APP, this move aims to further safeguard the living heritage of falconry in the country.
Falconry is the traditional practice of taking down a quarry in its natural state by training and using a bird of prey. UNESCO says that it is a social tradition promoting respect for nature and the environment, transmitted from generation to generation through formal and informal means, and providing its communities with a sense of belonging, pride, continuity and identity.
Other countries included in this UNESCO list are United Arab Emirates, Austria, Belgium, Czechia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Morocco, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Syrian Arab Republic.
Mashhood Mirza, Joint Secretary of National History and Literary Heritage (NHLH) Division, says inclusion of Pakistan in this list is a matter of pride for the whole country. Pakistan received the certificate from UNESCO of its inclusion in the list of intangible cultural heritage by the end of last year after a thorough presentation by experts in the NHLH Division, he added.
The UNESCO intergovernmental committee has said that falconry as a living human heritage satisfies the criteria of being able to “further contribute to fostering cultural diversity, mutual understanding and intercultural dialogue worldwide, thus enhancing visibility and awareness of intangible cultural heritage and its importance in connection with its natural environment. It could further highlight the diversity of human creativity in the expression of a common traditional practice.”
The art of falconry has been followed in South Asia from 600 BC and was especially popular during the Mughal period.