Indonesia´s Jamu Wellness Culture Declared as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

By : Nata Kesuma | Thursday, December 07 2023 - 20:31 IWST

Indonesia´s Jamu Wellness Culture Declared as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage
Indonesia´s Jamu Wellness Culture Declared as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage - Kasane, Botswana - The UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) Convention Committee has declared Jamu Wellness Culture as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage on (6/12).

Jamu Wellness Culture became the thirteenth Indonesian ICH that was successfully inscribed into the UNESCO ICH list. Previously, Indonesia has inscribed twelve other cultural elements as UNESCO ICH, which are Wayang (2008), Keris (2008), Batik (2009), Batik Education and Training (2009), Angklung (2010), Saman Dance (2011), Noken (2012), Three Genres of Traditional Dance in Bali (2015), Art of Pinisi Shipbuilding (2017), Pencak Silat Tradition (2019), Pantun (2020), and Gamelan (2021).

The Jamu Wellness Culture encompasses traditional skills and cultural values associated with traditional natural medicines made from herbs and spices as well as traditional treatment methods that aim to improve health by boosting immunity. Jamu culture is believed to have existed since the 8th century AD, as evidenced by the reliefs at Borobudur Temple and ancient manuscripts such as Kakawin Ramayana and Serat Centini.

UNESCO notes the value of herbal culture as a means of cultural expression and building connections between humans and the universe. UNESCO also recognises that Jamu's Wellness Culture supports the Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 3. Health and Wellbeing, Goal 5. Gender Equality, Goal 12 Responsible Production and Consumption, and Goal 16. Life on Land.

In remarks delivered via video message after the announcement of the inscription, Minister of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology Nadiem Makarim expressed pride in the designation of Jamu Wellness Culture as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. Since ancient times until now, the culture of herbal medicine continues to be learnt, developed and passed down from generation to generation. Jamu has become a way of life in Indonesia. Minister of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology Nadiem Makarim also said that Indonesia will continue to preserve herbal medicine through formal and non-formal education and training, as well as through herbal medicine research, development and innovation.

Indonesian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of South Africa accredited to the Republic of Botswana, the Kingdom of Eswatini and the Kingdom of Lesotho, Saud Purwanto Krisnawan said that the declaration of Jamu Wellness Culture as ICH is a positive thing in order to continue promoting Indonesian culture. Ambassador Saud Purwanto Krisnawan further stated that the Indonesian Embassy in Pretoria in the context of the 30th anniversary of Indonesia-South Africa diplomatic cooperation will promote herbal medicine through various activities such as exhibitions, workshops, and others. He believes this activity will be intensified in diplomacy in the coming years.

Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to UNESCO, Prof. Ismunandar added that the process of establishing Jamu Wellness Culture as UNESCO ICH is a joint effort driven from the local community facilitated by the Government. This community involvement is considered very positive by UNESCO, even said to be an example for other countries. Prof. Ismunandar expressed his hope that the inscription of Jamu as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage can increase the awareness and love of the Indonesian people for Jamu, and ICH in general.

The 18th session of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee will continue until 9 December 2023, in Kasane, Botswana. In addition to discussing inscribed cultural elements, the Committee also discussed periodic reports, namely reports on steps taken by countries in preserving cultural elements that have been inscribed in the UNESCO ICH list.

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