The holistic urban revitalisation of the historic Nizamuddin Basti community in New Delhi, India has received the Award of Excellence in this year’s UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. The project also garnered a Special Recognition for Sustainable Development. Nine projects from six countries – Bangladesh, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, and Thailand – have been honoured by a Jury of heritage experts. Jurors met online in November to review a total of 39 entries from 12 countries across the Asia-Pacific. The Jury applauded the Nizamuddin Basti project for its “outstanding achievement in placing heritage at the heart of the sustainable development agenda” and noted that “through an innovative People-Public-Private Partnership model, the project overcame major socio-economic challenges and improved health, education and well-being, particularly for women and youth”.
One of the priorities of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Tajikistan and its agencies is the protection of environment. This year, over 100 employees of the AKDN organised a tree planting campaign in Kuli Javonon Park, Dushanbe’s Sino District. Six types of trees, and 200 shrubs were planted, including local pine, black cypress, white cypress, juniper, plane tree and majnunbed. This initiative is the AKDN's contribution to the Greening Dushanbe programme and other constructive initiatives of the Government of the country to protect and improve the environment.
The COP26 UN climate conference saw over 40,000 delegates gather in Glasgow over the span of two weeks, from 31 October to 13 November. Representatives from 197 countries gathered to agree rules to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, as well as an improved support package for vulnerable countries. World Health Organisation (WHO) representatives joined a record number of health leaders at COP26 with the aim of positively influencing an ambitious outcome with their health argument for climate action. The immediate next steps are to work with partners to provide technical and financial support to the many countries that have signed new commitments to increase the resilience of the health sector, and to reduce carbon emissions from healthcare. WHO will work with government and NGO partners such as the UKNHS, Healthcare Without Harm and the Aga Khan Foundation to provide technical support, and with national governments, and bilateral and multilateral development partners to remove barriers to access the necessary finance.
The Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) is restoring Penang's northern coastline in Malaysia. AKTC’s work also extends to Canada which is currently home to an astonishing collection of art from His Highness the Aga Khan. Using trade as the foundation for many of its exhibitions, the latest collection provides a new way of looking at a well-worn path. Hidden Stories: Books along the Silk Roads explores different routes. However it is not only about books. The range of objects is as diverse as the networks through Asia. From a 1,000-year-old prayer sheet from northwestern China, to a five metre-long Iranian scroll of the Quran, there is plenty of Islamic material. The story is about the creators of these diverse objects, as well as the traders. Some of the objects in the Aga Khan Museum collection are rarely seen.
Conservation of Subz Burj, one of the unique double-domed architectural gems in the national Delhi, India, has been completed after three years of concentrated efforts carried out by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC). Sandstone lattice screens (Jaalis) have been restored at arched doorways, where iron frames were installed. Rare gold and lapis lazuli paintings and plaster patterns on the ceiling have also been exposed after a careful cleaning process carried out under the watchful supervision of the experts. “Its architecture features such as incredible artwork, tiles, and jaalis, especially the painting on its ceiling makes it rare. The opulent gold artwork and proximity to the shrine of the 13th century Sufi-Saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya suggest that the sepulchre must have been of a powerful and close noble of the ruler,” said Ratish Nanda, chief executive officer of AKTC.