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Abd Karim praises MBKS, DBKU for putting Kuching in UCCN list
Posted on : 18 Nov 2021  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Abdul Karim (centre) and Wee (left) showing the official letter from Unesco on Kuching’s acceptance as a member of UCCN in the field of gastronomy.

KUCHING (Nov 18): The City of Kuching’s acceptance as a member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (Unesco) Creative Cities Network (UCCN) is an outstanding achievement that will create a positive impact on local socio-economic development, said Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

He said Kuching’s inclusion as one of 49 new cities in UCCN will also increase the visibility and positive image of both Malaysia and Sarawak, especially on the international stage.

“The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak together with the Kuching South City Council (MBKS) and Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) are excited and proud to announce that Kuching city has received an official letter from Unesco on Nov 16 to inform that the city has been accepted as a member of UCCN in the field of gastronomy.

“We are proud because Kuching is the first city in Malaysia admitted into the UCCN list,” he told a press conference at his office in Baitulmakmur 2 Building here.

He congratulated both city councils for the marvelous achievement while also expressed his sincere appreciation to his federal counterpart Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Dato Sri Nancy Shukri and her ministry for supporting Sarawak and facilitating the submission to Unesco.

“The application of Kuching City to Unesco was a team collaboration by the ministry and city councils who were backed by a number of Sarawak stakeholders.

“It represents the synergy between public institutions at federal, state and local authority level with the private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). They include Culinary Heritage and Arts Society Sarawak (CHASS), a broad coalition of stakeholders tasked with the promotion and preservation of the state’s gastronomic traditions, and Society Atelier Sarawak, which previously spearheaded a successful application to list Kuching as a World Craft City under the World Crafts Council.

“We should also thank our mother nature and all the different ethnic groups in Sarawak with their unique heritage menu and food preparation techniques, which helped us build a strong case to get into the UCCN list. Our bountiful harvests are our winning factor and our stories ought to be told to the world,” he said.

Abdul Karim pointed out that the main objective of UCCN, an initiative introduced by Unesco in 2004, was to foster innovation and creativity as a driver towards sustainable city development.

“There are seven main categories of creative cities that have been outlined by Unesco, namely knowledge and literature, film, music, design, traditional crafts and arts, gastronomy and media arts,” he added.

Following this achievement, he said this was merely the beginning of a long journey for Kuching city.

”Like all member cities, Kuching city is expected to place the 2030 Agenda at the heart of its future development strategies and plans, especially Goal 11 which is to ‘make cities inclusive, safe and resilient.’

“The Steering Committee and Working Committee established earlier will continue to work on the programmes and initiatives we have planned to sustain the status of Kuching City as a member in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kuching South mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng said Kuching will begin its challenging journey together as a city of gastronomy to maintain and honour its new status for the next four years and many years to come.

“In order to do this, priority is for all food operators in Kuching city to maintain the best quality of their food, hygiene and surroundings.

”I would also like to appeal to all local councils to look into all areas related to gastronomy and to ensure all the eateries patronised by locals and tourists alike are all attractive and hygienic,” he said.

He also said that the council will make the best effort organise gastronomy related events not only to enhance and preserve Kuching’s image as a gastronomy city but also to reintroduce the traditional local delicacies and dishes from all corners of sarawak to a wider audience locally and from outside of Sarawak and Malaysia.

“Let’s do it together as part of UCCN and show to the world that Sarawak has a lot to offer,” he remarked.

Also present at the press conference was Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee.