UNESCO and the Government of Turkmenistan organized an expert meeting on traditional sports alongside Silk Road at Ashgabat, Turkmenistan during the first week of December 2018.

The Chairman Advisory Committee of UNESCO TSG and the members of the committee were invited to attend this meeting by the UNESCO. On this occasion, the Chairman Mr.Khan who chaired the meeting addressed the participants and emphasize on the importance of TSG. Given below is the extract of his Speech on the occasion. 

Respected Ministers, Ambassadors, experts and professors!

On behalf on UNESCO and AAC I would like to welcome all of you to the International Conference on the importance of Great Silk Road: Present and Future Development. I would like to extend my thanks to my colleagues in UNESCO as well as the organizers from the Government of Turkmenistan who have organized this event with the support of His Excellency President of Turkmenistan Mr. Gurbanguly Berdimohammedow.

UNESCO has recognized the importance of traditional sports and games for their intrinsic cultural values and their ability to increase participation in physical activity and sport for almost two decades.

In 1999, on the occasion of the 3rd Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials of Physical Education and Sports (MINEPS III), held in Punta del Este, Uruguay, the international community proposed that a significant action from UNESCO could be initiated within the framework for the promotion and preservation of traditional games and sports.

UNESCO’s work in relation to safeguarding and promoting traditional sports and games (TSG) has focused on scientific research, creation of an online encyclopedia, development of guidelines and the creation of an international platform, with the participation of relevant stakeholders.

The first Collective Consultation was held at Paris in 2006 where participants targeted to contribute on the outcomes of the Ministerial Conference (MINEPS IV). Following this UNESCO and International Association of Traditional Wrestling Sports (IATWS) established partnership to preserve traditional sports.

During the second Consultative Meeting in Iran in 2009 participants focused on the establishment of an Advisory Committee for UNESCO TSG and approved the creation of an international platform to be known as the International Council on Traditional Sports and Games (ICTSG).

In order to ensure the revitalization of the TSG project, the third Collective Consultation on TSG took place in July 2017 at Paris where many important decisions were taken by the participants that include but are not limited to the establishment of Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on TSG headed by IATWS President Khalil Ahmed Khan. Working Groups were also appointed to target work on strategic issues.

Since their establishment, the AAC and Working Groups established to specifically develop and strengthen the objectives of the AAC have been undertaking their respective functions to amalgamate the targeted results along with the UNESCO Secretariat.

The First Technical Meeting was organized by UNESCO and AAC to refine the progress made by that time and delineating a common framework for TSG.

AAC’s Group of Friends of UNESCO TSG was also established to strengthen political advocacy for the Project has become operational. Various Member States of UNESCO continue being approached and many have expressed their willingness to integrate TSG actively into their respective polices at governmental level. More than 15 Member States have signed the Letter of Commitment to join the TSG Project.

The Fourth Collective Consultation 2018 on TSG was recently held in August 2018 at Istanbul – Turkey with the support of the Government of Turkey, WEC and AAC.

The participants of the meeting unanimously approved and identify the 10 Traditional Sports including Belt Wrestling and agreed to publish the Encyclopaedia on the TSG at the Silk Road by the UNESCO Secretariat.

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