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Kanazawa conference stresses importance of traditional crafts
An international conference entitled "Towards a New Vision: Traditional Crafts for Sustainable Development" was held in Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture (Japan), on 27-28 November, 1998. The conference was organized by the Ishikawa International Cooperation Research Centre (IICRC) in cooperation with the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU/IAS). The IICRC and UNU/IAS are partners in science and technology policy research that focuses on the changes in daily consumer behaviour that are needed to bring about sustainable development.
The purpose of the November conference was to consolidate the various ideas and proposals contained in the "Kanazawa Appeal on Traditional Industrial Crafts and the Environment" issued at a November 1997 symposium. Dr. Ratna S.J.B. Rana of Nepal, IICRC Director, expressed in his opening remarks the hope that "this conference will give us an opportunity to clarify our vision and make it a bit more focused."
Numerous representatives of various domestic and international crafts organizations, businesses, local government bodies, and academic fields attended and contributed to the discussions. Conference participants discussed a variety of issues relating to the promotion of traditional crafts as a means of contributing to environmentally sustainable development. In his keynote speech, entitled "Caring for the Future," UNU/IAS Director Prof. Tarcisio Della Senta noted that "it is important to pass on the knowledge of traditional crafts to the younger generation through education." A second keynote speech was given by Desamanya (Mrs.) Siva Obeyesekere, Regional President of the World Crafts Council Asia-Pacific. She stressed that, to protect modern artisans, we must acknowledge the importance of their crafts and pay them a fair price for their work in order to preserve their status as craftsmen.
UNI/IAS Deputy Director Prof. Fu-chen Lo presented a paper on the approach of the UNU/IAS to creating a framework for sustainable development. He noted the importance of striving for a "zero-emission" society if we are to achieve sustainable development.
The conference was attended by experts in a variety of fields from eight countries. Other speakers included Mrs. Deng Ying, China; Mr. A.K.P. Mochtan, Indonesia; and Ms. Zenaida M. Quismorio, the Philippines.
In the concluding session, Prof. Della Senta presented an "Agenda for Action" and commended the conference participants for elucidating several aspects of the major issues. He recommended that a consortium of the five partners, or "actors" - namely, artists and artisans, governments, the educational system, businesses, and international organizations - be formed to pursue the goals and issues brought out during the conference.