The Asia/Pacific Regional Committee for the Memory of the World Program (MOWCAP) is a subsidiary of the International Advisory Committee (IAC) of the Memory of the World (MOW) Program. The Program was launched by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1992. MOWCAP was set up in 1998 during its First MOWCAP General Meeting held in Beijing, China.
MOWCAP embraces the Asia Pacific region of 43 countries – one of five UNESCO regions across the globe. Features of the region include:
- Wide political, linguistic and cultural diversity, and great economic disparity. Most countries are part of the third world.
- The world’s largest and smallest countries – China has a population of 1.3 billion and Niue, 2000.
- The tyranny of distance – much of the region is ocean, and many countries are islands making communication and travel costly.
- Cultures of great richness and antiquity, but many nation states are relatively young in their present form. A general history of colonization creates issues in the repatriation of documentary heritage.
- Archives, libraries and museums often lack adequate funds, infrastructure and skills.
MOWCAP is a cooperative structure through which people in the region can be brought together to pursue the objectives of the MOW Program.
MOWCAP’s objectives are to promote, facilitate and monitor the MOW Program within the region, and to represent the region at the international level. Among other things, MOWCAP supports and facilitates nominations and encourages adequate representation of the region’s documentary heritage in the International MOW Register. It also supports and complements the work of the National MOW Committees. It seeks to raise awareness of the Program and of the documentary heritage in the Asia-Pacific region.
- Increase awareness of the importance of documentary heritage, improves its accessibility and use
- Promote resource sharing and optimal use of resources in the region
- Mobilize political, social and economic support for the MOW Asia/Pacific Program
- Encourage cross-country linkages of valuable collections of multi-country/cultural significance
- Encourage the establishment of National MOW Committees
- Maintain the Asia/Pacific Regional Register of MOW documentary heritage
- Discuss the selection criteria and any other matters determined by the International Advisory Committee and make recommendations
- Mobilize resources and supports for MOW projects/activities
Through the leadership of its Bureau, MOWCAP organizes events and meetings on a regular basis.
MOWCAP also maintains an Asia/Pacific Regional Register of the MOW documentary heritage, a listing of documentary heritage of influence in the Asia/Pacific region. MOWCAP is the authority that approves inscriptions on the Asia/Pacific MOW Register. It assesses nominations from members through its Asia/Pacific Register Subcommittee against established selection criteria.
Normally, inscriptions on the Asia/Pacific Register are made every two years.