12 September 2007
An international jury of experts in design, marketing and handicraft production will meet in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on 24-26 September to select the winners sotmarket.ru%2Fproduct%2Fpartner-night.html&sa=6&sa1=&sa2=&sa3=&sa4=&bt=20&pt=9<=2&tl=3&im=ODI1LTAtMTQxODc0Mzg4OC0xMTQwNzgxNA%3D%3D&fid=NDQ2MjkxMjc1&prdct=3b0f3f0b3f05310730&kw=of%20the" target="_blank" alt="of the Night" title="Partners of the Night" style="">Partners of the Night" title="Partners of the Night" style="">of the '2007 Seal of Excellence for Handicrafts' of UNESCO. More than 200 products ranging from traditionally woven textiles to ceramics and silverware have been submitted to the competition from Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.The ‘Seal of Excellence for Handicrafts’ programme seeks to raise international awareness on the importance and economic potential of the craft sector in Central Asia. At the same time, it serves as a quality control mechanism and as a marketing tool to promote traditions and innovation in the global craft market.
When assessing the products, the experts will review their excellence, innovation, authenticity, marketability, eco-friendliness and social responsibility.
The awarded products, in recognition of their outstanding quality, will be announced and presented during a ceremony to be organized during the next annual craft fair taking place in Almaty in December 2007.
Established to encourage craft-workers to use traditional skills and materials, the SEAL also seeks to ensure the continuation of traditional knowledge and the preservation of cultural diversity in the region. By recognizing such attributes in craftsmanship, the programme aims to set quality standards and strengthen market demand for Central Asian handicraft products.
The programme was originally established in Southeast Asia in 2001 by UNESCO and the ASEAN Handicraft Promotion and Development Association (AHPADA); it was expanded to Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan) and South Asia (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) in 2004. Iran is participating for the first time this year.
The ‘Seal of Excellence for Handicrafts’ programme has received a growing interest among artisans and various actors in the handicrafts world and is used as a model to elaborate other capacity-building projects for the support of traditional craftsmanship, such as the initiatives sotmarket.ru%2Fproduct%2Fpartner-night.html&sa=6&sa1=&sa2=&sa3=&sa4=&bt=20&pt=9<=2&tl=3&sa=6&sa1=&sa2=&sa3=&sa4=&im=ODI1LTAtMTQxODc0Mzg4OC0xNDM4NjE3OQ%3D%3D&fid=NDQ2MjkxMjc1&prdct=3b0f3f0b3f05310730&kw=of%20the" target="_blank" alt="of the Night" title="Partners of the Night" style="">Partners of the Night" title="Partners of the Night" style="">of the Eurasia Foundation in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, in which UNESCO participates in order to further support the development of the craft sector in Central Asia.
SEAL of Excellence for Handicraft criteria:
Excellence – Demonstrated excellence and standard-setting quality in craftsmanship: Determined by the use of high quality materials, a high standard of technique and the special attention to manufacturing details.
Authentic - Expression of cultural identity and traditional aesthetic values: This is demonstrated by a well achieved application of aesthetic and cultural expression, or traditional crafting.
Innovative - Innovation in design and production: This is demonstrated by an effective and successful blend of traditional and contemporary, or inventive and creative use of material, design, production process.
Eco-friendly - Respect for the environment in materials and production techniques: This can be exemplified through the use of natural dyes, natural fibers, recycled materials and the use of materials and production processes that are environmentally friendly.
Marketable - Marketability or the craft products with potential for the world market: This may be related to the functionality of the Mass Effect Universe" title="Art of the Mass Effect Universe" style="">mass-effect-2060401002513&sa=6&sa1=&sa2=&sa3=&sa4=&bt=20&pt=9<=2&tl=3&im=Mjc3NS0wLTE0MTg3NDM4ODgtMTE1ODMwODA%3D&fid=NDQ2MjkxMjc1&prdct=3a0b380633093e0530&kw=of%20the" target="_blank" alt="Art of the Mass Effect Universe" title="Art of the Mass Effect Universe" style="">of the product, the safe use by potential buyers, a balanced price-quality relationship or the sustainability of production.
Fair - Social responsibility: The producer must affirm that no labor law was violated and no individual or group exploited unfairly at any stage in the production of a handicraft submitted for the SEAL.